By a Nose

flowering crab 0619I have had precisely two bloody noses in my life. The first came way back when we lived in Denver, so at age 6 or younger. I barely recall it; I think neighbors were adding onto their house or building a garage — anyway, there were 2 x 4s raised slightly off the ground, and I was walking across one when I slipped and smacked my nose directly into the board. Ended a promising career in gymnastics right there, it did. Or perhaps not-so-promising, since even then I was off-balance.

I did not bleed when I ran my nose into Lynne Bartleson’s back six or seven years later. We were both on sleds behind a moving car (okay, it’s dangerous and frowned upon, but it was my favorite winter sport as a kid) when she fell off hers in front of me, and the car pulled me forward. No blood, but it smooshed my nose up pretty darn good and led in a straight line to my second nosebleed, decades later.

My burgeoning problems with sleep apnea directed me to an otolaryngologist (we in the trades say ENT for Ear Nose Throat) who tried to push a scope up one nostril and barely managed because it was so blocked. So I had surgery to straighten my nasal innards and remove a turbinate (who knew we have turbines in our noses?), plus some sinus work. And one day during my recovery something set me off (it might have been a sneeze), and I started bleeding copiously from my nose. So copiously I ended up in the emergency room.

Eventually, hours later, the bleeding stopped, and that was the last of my nose bleeds. But my co-workers, not knowing about my non-history, all assumed I had a bleeder yesterday, because I was walking around with tissue stuffed up my nostril.

And that’s because yesterday provided a series of firsts, all of them signs that we might finally be experiencing spring, possibly rolled right into summer.

Kara executed a catch-and-release of the first bug of the year, scooping up some sort of small creature from the window at Pat’s and setting it free into the wilds of our outside planters. And I took my first Zyrtec of the year, and later my first ibuprofen, to go with my first sinus episode of the year.

It’s very late in coming this year, but I don’t want you thinking I’m complaining about that. I thought I might even miss out, because usually on March 1 my left eye starts streaming continuous tears, and that didn’t happen. I have been a tad teary the last couple of weeks, but I wasn’t paying it much mind until the sinus attack struck yesterday afternoon.

I’m not allowed to say the S word at work, but I’m not at work now, so I will tell you we have at least three kinds of snow here in Gunnison. (Four if you believe the intelligence about cocaine abuse, but I must not traffic in those circles, because it’s a topic I know absolutely nothing about.)

Foremost is the kind you’ve already heard plenty from me about, the stuff sent from the sky that we weren’t sure would ever come to a stop this year. But it did, eventually, although so eventually that it delayed the spring version of “snow.”

We have these crabapple trees throughout Gunnison, none of them native to the area but now quite abundant (three in our backyard alone). No one likes to eat crabapples, which are tart to the point of bitterness, and woe to those who suggest they might want a “few” for canning. Many of the little fruits just end up dropping to the ground, where they get squished into a messy red paste, making us all wonder why anyone wanted these trees around in the first place.

But then comes May, or this year June, and these trees burst into a brilliance of flowers, some of them pink but many of them white. It’s a short display, made shorter some years, like this, when the wind hits at the trees, stripping their petals in a fury that can look just like a snowstorm. And if you come downtown, where these trees line both sides of Main Street, you find yourself walking across a carpet of petals.

And it may be this that triggered my allergies yesterday, or it could be our summer version of snow, when the cotton starts flying.

There is nary a cotton patch in all of western Colorado, but we have an abundance of cottonwood trees, which dispatch little bits of white wispy cotton on summer breezes to go where it may. Lots of little bits. Lots and lots of little bits. You can look out at a bright blue summer sky, and some days you might think it is indeed snowing as cotton wafts past by the bushel.

I personally haven’t seen any cotton yet this year, despite now owning a lot the north end of which is loaded with cottonwoods. I think it’s a little early, given how delayed the crabapple flowers have been, but something sure set my nose off yesterday, running just like a faucet, with nothing to do but treat it like the bloody noses I’ve barely had.

And just now I’ve resumed the Tissue Parade, so something is Out There that wasn’t before. (Maybe we should call the X Files. Have them bring flashlights.) It’s probably time to add Flo-nase to the combat arsenal.

You know what ought to help? A steam shower. If only I had one of those. Wouldn’t that be nice? Some Day . . .

Aren’t these beautiful? A company called Seeds of Life, owned by Kirsten Daily, puts these in for us every year, and then we just sit back and reap the compliments. And let bugs roam free among the flowers.

flowers 0619


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