During allergy seasons (increasingly longer portions of time here in the northeast), clouds of pollen drift thither and yon through the landscapes, sliding under doorways, slipping in through window cracks, gusting through puppy doors (and on puppy fur), and generally laying claim to the interior with layer upon layer of pale yellow-greenish silt.

I don’t wipe up dust as much as I sweep pollen about, creating fresh billows to gack my airways. I can see literal clouds of pollen sloughing off pine boughs and other tree forms. When I lived in New Jersey (aka ‘the Garden State’), I had minor seasonal allergies, and most of those were floral-based. Up here, the prolific tree pollen is significantly more potent as well as more varied. Frankly, the minor floral competition is drowned out in comparison.

The benefits of living as long as I have (and I am now the oldest I have *ever* been) means a greater reliance on cosmetics to face the public. Applying a daily ‘face’ becomes a challenge during the high pollen times because a sneeze will erupt when it will, whether you are applying lip liner, eye-liner, or mascara. It isn’t as easy to erase a make-up application error as it is to rub out a pencil mistake. In the case of mascera, you may as well completely remove what you have just applied and start over. Red eyes stream a clean track through your foundation down to your chin. Mascara lashings echo on your cheeks. Cool water used to sooth the eye, smudges what isn’t run off with leaky eye juice.

One day last week I had to start over *three* times. I was almost ready to face the world naked (sans make-up). But only almost. Even at my age, vanity rules hair and make-up. I do not wear high heels anymore. I compromise on pumps. Comfort trumps vanity.