Holy Juniper!

holy juniperIf they weren’t so darn beautiful, crooked, twisting, and popping out their little blue berries like a Christmas pie, the allergies that the Juniper trees give to me might be less tolerable.

Awww, nope. Just kidding. Completely take that back. Beauty aside, Holy Juniper! Intolerable. Achooo! I don’t care how miraculous and interesting they are. Take them down!

It’s allergy season, and I’m feeling as stuffed as an olive floating in a martini (gin, BTW, made from Juniper berries, go figure). I’ve had it. I’m done. No more breathing through one nostril, then the next, then neither, then drying out my mouth. No more waking up from fitful sleep and rubbing my eyes with fists, like a child, and wishing I could just cry like one, too. No more exploding head or tingling skin. I took off on a mission.

I headed over to the nearby drugstore anxious to the point of fidgeting and speeding, and ready for some over-the-counter salvation. Antihistamines. Any color. Any brand. Give me relief!

I had tried all the herbal and natural remedies. They helped, but they simply couldn’t clear the sinuses completely or relieve the itchy eyes. Nature be damned. I gave up fighting nature with nature, and I took my prickly face and scratchy sockets to Safeway.

I nearly ran to the back of the store. “Help!” I wanted to scream to nobody in particular. But I had an important meeting later in the day, and I didn’t want to either look like I’d been crying for weeks, nor did I want to sneeze all over the hoped for check. I arrived at the pharmacy, and what, what? No! The shelf was OMG empty. Or almost. There was one tipped-over box of six tablets for thirty dollars, forget that noise, as tempting as it was. There appeared to be nary an antihistamine, beyond that expensive one, in sight. What?

Did I experience even the slightest moment of solace in the fact that I now knew I was not alone in my seasonal suffering and my allergies to Juniper? No. None at all.

Give me some Allegra now! I screamed in my head.

First I knelt on the floor in front of the shelf feeling, and looking, like a Catholic school girl ready to pray. I had been. Then I bent over as gracefully as I could. Yeah, not at all.  I looked like a cartoon ancient trying to do yoga as I bent my head down to the bottom shelf. WHY DO THEY PUT THINGS FOR OLD PEOPLE ON THE BOTTOM SHELF OF ANYTHING!!!???

Scrunched up like a used tissue, I peered deep into the way back of the dark shelf hoping against all hope that there might be a something, an anything–expired, broken, open, I didn’t care–that would keep me from trudging my heavy, snot-laden head to the next shopping mall. Please? I whispered to the vacant space.

Yes! There was one purple box pushed back and ready to fall behind the shelf into grocery store never-never land. Allegra. “Mine!” I shouted as if winning a competition. Feeling victorious, and a little embarrassed, I pulled my head out from the back of the metal vortex and slowly unhinged my cramped and bent over limbs, only to find the pharmacist standing over me as I finally arrived upright.

“Can I help you?”

“Uh, no, thanks. Just needing some allergy relief,” I murmured rubbing off remnants of the store’s morning floor. Juniper dust no doubt, carried in and left behind by others on the same mission.

“I see,” he said, and I was certain he wasn’t seeing anything at all. Or perhaps he was simply sick of seeing the litany of customers he’d watched all week run their runny noses back to his pill haven and touch everything with their germ-infested fingers.

All those customers who did not need him. At all. Poor guy. We just need the purple, green or red boxes holding an afternoon of comfort and clarity. Mine! I clutched my box.

“Thanks,” I mumbled and made my way to the cashier in front, looking around to see if anyone had seen my athletic stretch to the last box promising a snot-free life. Or at least a few hours anyway.

Tired of a life where I can’t hike. I can’t breathe. I can’t sleep. I swallowed the pill dry. A bit of relief was mine over the next few hours. Meeting attended. Check received. No boogers or snot on my new donor. And then back out to the trail for just a bit. Only to be met by a line of rock hearts, under a huge tree. Juniper of course. Gotta love ’em.

Maybe I need that martini after all.

hearts under a juniper


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