Our corner of SW Turkey has slipped gently and warmly into spring. Insects are buzzing and joining intimate bits of their anatomy. Birds are buzzing and busily stuffing bits and bobs into nest boxes and other suitable orifices in between joining intimate bits of their anatomy, albeit fleetingly.
Even tortoises are buzzing, rushing about at unusual speeds (for them), playing dodge ’em cars before joining intimate bits of their anatomy and squeaking a lot. ‘Spring is sprung – the grass is riz . . ‘ to quote Shakespeare.
This time of merry-making and frolicking is not all sun, sex and sangria though – it is also the time of the dreaded ‘Yellow Peril’ when the Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse, ‘Fear’ and ‘Misery’ stalk the land. Every year at about this time there is speculation in the English language media here in Turkey about reckless spraying by farmers, or some leak at a chemical factory as great clouds of yellow dust fill the sky and go on to cover cars, gardens, streets and balconies in sticky residue. Ponds and lakes often have great slicks of this mysterious yellow scum.
here’s a photo from Fethiye Times and a link to their article
Some people, like me, can be seen wandering about looking and (trust me) feeling like a rabbit with myxomatosis – eyes reddened, streaming and swollen shut, together with trails of snot dripping off their chins. I well remember hoping that it was myxomatosis and that I could turn into a rabbit because the chances of surviving were slim and death seemed to have a lot going for it.
The speculators are actually thinking along the right lines because what we are witnessing is an attack by a biological ‘weapon of mass production’ aimed at ensuring one particular group maintains its position in the battle for survival. When ‘all options are on the table’ these are the big guns in action!
Almost unnoticed in the rioting mobs of flowers and shrubs, the fir trees have been buzzing too. Their innocuous little male flowers (which are not really flowers) have been quietly tumescent – developing the equivalent of teenage spots and pulsing gonads! Then, at just the right moment a bit of a breeze signals ‘Ayup, awa’ the lads!’ and, like teenagers the world over caution, along with a lot of sperm, is cast to the wind without a lot of thought about where most of it will end up!
pollen clouds in pine forest
So, next time you see some poor, pathetic sod dripping and sneezing his life away in the throws of what is laughingly called ‘hay fever’ spare a thought before you make some trite remark like ‘Bless you!’ or ‘Çok yaşa!’ They are under biological attack from a load of rampant spermatozoid and such comment is likely to really get up their nose along with all that seminal stuff!
Alan Fenn, on the front line at Okçular Köyü