Yes, I said allergist.  Even though snow flurries fly as I write this, he says the early trees are out, pollen wise.  And a clump of lavender snow crocus are blooming in a sheltered spot beside my water garden.  The tips of bulbs are emerging where the snow has receded.  Ah spring…for one who dearly loves to garden and is addicted to the glories of new life, I’m terribly allergic to it.  Also to summer, fall…right up until that first killing frost.  In a battle to leave the  house and be out of doors in my beautiful green and pollen filled valley, I’ve endured a regimen of shots, four at a time, every 1-2 weeks for two decades.  And will, it seems forever more.  I’m also on several meds during pollen season.  But it’s well worth it for the joy of being outdoors during  the beauteous reign of the flowers.  No where on earth is more beautiful than the Shenandoah Valley nestled amid the spectacular Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains.  God’s country, we call it, if the developers don’t completely overrun all the pastoral beauty with yet another sprawl of houses and businesses.   Stop!  Preserve and conserve this rare place.

Back to the shots, yes, I’ve made progress over the years and am much better than I was, but I’m not one of my allergist’s greatest success stories.  He has declared me among the top ten percent of allergy sufferers in the nation.  I’d rather be among the top ten percent of honored authors.  But it was the severity of my allergies that forced me indoors for much of the growing season and consequently are partly responsible for my leap into novel writing in the first place.  And that love of nature transferred itself to my stories in the descriptive details I’m praised for.

During the worst time of the year, commonly known as mid-summer through ragweed season, when I’m under what I call ‘under house arrest’ I gaze out my window to the garden, meadows, wooded hills and beyond these the blue swell of the Alleghenies and I write.  Not that I don’t write all the times of the year, but particularly then.  Even if I were to miraculously overcome all of my allergies I would still write.  But if not for allergies, I’d probably still be running my small herb business, making wreaths, dried arrangements and potpourri…which my former allergist declared is responsible for my developing every allergy latent within me.    So, I battle on with the shots in hopes of having less sneezy, itchy-eyed,  so congested I get vertigo, times in my garden(s).
Never give up on anything or anyone you truly love.  Fight on and find a way.   It is now fifteen years since I began this novel writing journey and what a journey it’s been.   And the gardens are still with me, the mountains still there.  And this year, the garden will be the best ever!

*Pics of snow crocus, the valley in early spring and my garden in a sunbeam.


  1. Toni // March 3, 2010 at 1:09 PM  

    Beautiful pictures, as usual. Love the crocus. My front yard in Kearney was covered with them.

  2. Beth Trissel // March 3, 2010 at 1:32 PM  

    Thanks. Sound splendid, Toni.

  3. Autumn Jordon // March 3, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

    Oh, Beth, I'm sorry spring effects you this way. I'm so forunate to only have the occassional sinus headache.

    BTW, My yellow crocus popped through the snow too! I'm so anixous to see more of spring.

  4. Mary Marvella // March 3, 2010 at 3:11 PM  

    Hey, Beth, I am glad you have found ways to continue your gardening. Keep taking the shots so you can. Your love for nature shines trough your words.

    Good thing you didn't put an early expiration date on your writing!

  5. Judy // March 3, 2010 at 4:46 PM  

    Beth, you always include the most stunning pictures. Allergies are a problem. My family was always full of them. I looked at the picture of the flowers poking through the snow and it reminds me that whether you live in FL like I do, or up north, Spring is on its way! Yay! The winter weather in Florida has been terrible.

  6. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 3, 2010 at 5:09 PM  

    Yes, I can tell something is pumping out the pollen. My allergies are much, much worse. I dread the stuffy nose, chest congestion and bubbling ears that herld the coming of the season. Lovely pictures, enjoyed the post.

  7. Beth Trissel // March 3, 2010 at 5:25 PM  

    Thanks! And my sympathies to all you fellow allergy sufferers.

  8. Mary Ricksen // March 3, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

    That is a terrible trial for you! But I would do the same thing as you. I love the Great Smokies too!

  9. Dayana // March 3, 2010 at 11:17 PM  

    Beautiful imagery, Beth. I'm not a sufferer of allergies and would so miss getting my hands into the dirt but my question would be, how the heck do you maintain your garden if you cannot be outside within it???


  10. Beth Trissel // March 4, 2010 at 12:42 AM  

    I work really hard when I'm able to be in the garden(s) and I have the help of my right arm, daughter Elise. :) The shots are gradually building my tolerance to various pollens.

  11. Mona Risk // March 4, 2010 at 6:39 AM  

    Beth, I sympathise with your allergy. My daughter has the same problem and has to receive injection every month for her allergies. And there doesn't seem to be any permanent cure. She also lives in your neck of the wood where ragweed abunds. With your love of planting it muset really hurt you to stay indoor.

  12. Beth Trissel // March 4, 2010 at 7:20 AM  

    Yes Mona, it does. But at least I'm better than I used to be which was horrible during ragweed season.

  13. Pamela Varnado // March 4, 2010 at 8:21 AM  

    Lovely pictures and I'm sorry to hear you suffer from allergies. I battle them also, but year round.

  14. Beth Trissel // March 4, 2010 at 9:02 AM  

    I used to battle more year round but finally graduated from my dust and mold shot. :)

  15. Caroline Clemmons // March 4, 2010 at 2:20 PM  

    Beth, Poor dear, you sound like our family. Without the advent of air-conditioning, central heat, steroids, albuterol, Nasonex, etc. we wouldn't be around at all. our allergies are year around--th-eres always something.

    Beautiful photos, Beth. My daffodils here in the windblown county are up but not in flower. In town in sheltered areas, they're blooming. I love spring, even if I do have to remain indoors as much as possible.