Have you ever experienced a recurring dream?

I have one, that comes to me during ragweed season.

I find myself walking and walking in the country.

Trees and plants, woods and fields, hills and dales.

There are people with me, walking and talking, talking and talking, talking of stalking, pointing and gesticulating.

In the dream, I don’t know the time, but I know it’s very early.  Too early for all this gesticulating – I can’t even say that word, at this early hour.  Hand-waving, then, and sounds like they’re speaking in Latin.  Are we monks??  I don’t understand any of it.

Then I hear a voice say clearly “…The F Stop…” and I look around for a bus.  But there isn’t any, so we keep walking.  I don’t know what time it is, but I know somehow, that it’s early, and we’re rambling in the grayness of Pre-Noon – that horrible, fuzzy zone that exists before lunchtime.

Without looking, I can tell my socks don’t match.  One feels like it’s wool, knee-high, and itchy.  I don’t own any socks like that.

It’s at that point, the slow dawning horror comes over me, as I become aware, that I’m not dreaming.

I’m actually awake, out and about at this ungodly hour, hiking apparently, and have fallen among  some roving cult of naturalists, botanists, forest-bathers, and photographers.  Why does this keep happening.  Apparently sometime last night, once again, I agreed to an Early Morning Nature Walk.  Don’t remember.  Don’t remember if anyone thought to give me breakfast first, or brunch, like decent, civilized people.  Don’t remember signing on to wander around in the shrubbery and thickets of binomial nomenclature.

But that explains the people in my dream, talking in Latin.  And the “F Stops” – the photographer has us straying through sodden “Depths of Field” or suchlike, and my socks are soggy.

Ragweed Season.  I don’t sleep well, and I don’t do awake so well, either.  I’m stumbling along, coked to the gills on antihistamines, Echinacea, Sudafed, Mucinex.  Just let the mosquitoes drink as much of my blood as they want.  They try to fly off, but then the Benadryl hits, and they drop from the sky like stones.

Walking at breakfast time.  Dogwoods, but no doughnuts, fritillaries, but no frittatas.  Someone offers me a handful of Dragon’s Tongues.  They’re surprisingly tiny and green.  It seems like the dream-state is resuming.  But “dragon’s tongues” turns out to be a mixture of grape vine tendrils and the leaves of a flowering mustard plant, they call “wild arugula.”  Not bad!  The grape tendrils are delicious, kind of lemony.  Someone pulls out a thermos and gives me some coffee.

I open my eyes, and it’s a pretty nice day!   Nature’s not so bad, really, as long as the plant life includes coffee beans and tea leaves.





Pollen thy name is Legion


breakfast, Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Nature, NY, Uncategorized, Upstate New York

It’s always a cakewalk in ragweed time.


33 thoughts on “It’s always a cakewalk in ragweed time.

  1. Thanks, Robert, for sharing your experience. Dreams are fascinating, aren’t they? I can’t say I have a recurring dream, at least not exactly as before. But there seem to be some recurring motives. It’s difficult to rememeber, though, as – they’re dreams after all – fade away in my memory.
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  2. Call it a non-dream dream. From what you say, up there it’s getting to be ragweed pollen time already. Not yet down here in heatland, which is also a heartland of ragweed. We even have a species called giant ragweed, which easily reaches 10 feet tall and sometimes forms a palisade along the edge of a two-lane road.

    Our associations are so personal. Your first mention of F/stops and looking around for a bus reminded me of when I was a teenager taking the bus from my suburban town into Queens, there to catch the F train into Manhattan.

    I like how you segued from as-yet-unspecified Latin to monkdom.

    • Ten feet tall!? I just looked up the giant ragweed, it’s name is ambrosia? To me, that’s food of the gods, or a really delicious fruit & whipped cream salad. Do you happen to know why they named it that way?
      I also don’t know the subway lines in NYC, but glad that reminded you of your teenage years. I see that the F line goes south through Brooklyn, so I must have been on it to go to Coney Island a couple of times.

      • According to the most authoritative Texas botany book I have, Ambrosia was an early Greek name for aromatic plants. Linnaeus and his fellow classifiers occasionally recycled ancient names, not always in conjunction with the original genera (sometimes because no one knew what specifically the ancient name applied to). For example, the Latin word cactus designated a prickly Sicilian plant, apparently some kind of artichoke, but not what we use the word for today.

        In any case, for the ancient Greeks ambrosia was the food of the gods. If you take the word apart etymologically, the a- is from an, meaning ‘not,’ and the main part of the word, m[b]r, is from the verb for ‘to die’ (akin to Latin moriri). So eating mythological ambrosia wards off death. Being exposed to lots of Ambrosia pollen makes one want to die.

        • The ragweed seeds are edible, but not exactly my idea of a little slice of heaven. The wild grape tendrils, though, are really very tasty. And Ambrosia Salad is fantastic.

  3. Dreams are so very interesting. Who knows what this one is about but you described it so well I was right there with you walking and listening to the talking. I would blame the Sudafed. Andy decongestant gives me extraordinary dreams.

    • I’ve definitely heard of people reacting that way. and having unusually vivid dreams.
      I think on the “Breaking Bad” TV series, where a high school science teacher becomes a gangster, the local hoodlums were buying bagfuls of decongestants, and the teacher used his knowledge of chemistry, to transform them into crystal meth. (My story was mostly tongue-in-cheek, and I try to take the absolute minimum of this stuff, in part because Benadryl makes me so drowsy.)

    • Thank you Douglas! 🙂
      I hope to heck you’re not in one of the forest fire zones again
      My relatives in northern Utah tell me the sky there is gray with smoke coming over the mountains

      • Hi Robert!! So nice to hear from you! As of now I’m safe. A fire 30 miles south was put out quickly. Because of the climate change we are now in, basically, a constant state of vigilance. Fires spread so rapidly due to the ongoing drought and daily changes in winds. So we have to be ready to vacate with very little warning. I’m very thankful that so far we have been under no threat. Thanks for your thoughts and hoping your relatives in Utah stay safe! I keep hearing those Chris Isaak song lyrics in my head “The world was on fire”. YIkes! Be well sir!

  4. I sometimes wonder of the origins of the word, ragweed. Was it because, in the days before drugs identified with binomial nomenclature (or worse), you’d need to wrap a rag around your head to be anywhere near them? Because you’d need a huge rag to staunch the flow from your sinuses?

    Ever wonder what would happen if a mosquito sneezed?

  5. I was just tripping along, enjoying the dream, until I got to the end and burst out laughing at the “thy name is legion” reference. Demon pollen, for sure. Too bad there’s not a way to cast it out without resorting to all those drugs — although the resulting dreams aren’t the worst thing in the world.

    I was terribly allergic to ragweed and corn pollen when I was a kid in Iowa. I ended up going through a couple of years of allergy shots, and that took care of that. The only real problem I have now is cedar pollen. Almost every December or January, when it’s at its worst, I lose my voice for a week or so. Some people consider that a good thing.

    I don’t have repetitive dreams, but I sometimes wake up in the middle of one, go back to sleep, and pick up where I left off. Too bad we can’t record dreams, so we could go back and re-watch the really good ones. There’s one I remember vividly from childhood, and one in which I was visited by a dead friend. We had a lovely conversation, actually — I remember every detail of that one.

    I think the kind of fruit salad ambrosia you mentioned was on our table every holiday. It involved oranges, pineapple, coconut, and sour cream. One aunt added marshmallows, and took a good bit of grief for it. I still have the cut-glass bowl my mother used for the salad — cut glass makes everything look good.

    • I saw that medieval painting in a museum, a few days ago – – I’m sure it wasn’t the artist’s intent, but it sure looked like St Dominic was glaring at the flowers, so I thought he might have had allergies too.
      Once/if I settle down somewhere for a while, I might do the allergy shots, I know it’s a lengthy process and you can’t stop & start, Boy, to have an allergy to corn pollen, and live in Iowa!
      And I agree, it would be wonderful to be able to record dreams, to re-watch and sometimes share with other people.

  6. This really resonated with me! Many’s the time I’ve found myself stumbling through the thickets with folks spouting Latin when what I want them to do is pour me some coffee and explain why it is we’re doing this so early. I won’t even open any emails from my local Audubon chapter. Birders are the worst for this sort of uncivilized behavior. Until recently though I haven’t been plagued by allergies. Poor you! What a misery that must be. I do love the idea of stoned mosquitoes, though. Hm.

    • Glad to hear from you, and from a kindred spirit! I’m hoping to go on a moonlight nature walk this summer, more my speed.
      I just saw a picture somewhere, of a mosquito’s foot. I’m not going to post a link to it, because it was even creepier than the other mosquito pictures I’ve seen, like those “Alien” movies. So I really hope those evil little vampires are having trouble with the chemically-laden blood they get from me!

  7. Captivating reading, Robert! 🙂 🙂 You could have fooled me, I dived deep into your dream and started interpreting until I was knocked out! 😀
    I’m not a breakfast person, but I need my coffee and tea leaves sounds good too. You are brave! And oh dear me, I have just enrolled us all on a 6 weeks workshop for birdwatching, hopefully that was not a mistake. 😉
    Hope you are feeling better now, Robert. Take care.
    Lots of love to you from The Fab Four of Cley. Xx

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