Here in the northeast, there are a few things that mark the change from early to late spring.  Many tend to show up in decorative patterns on my windshield as I drive around the northeast or park my car outside for any length of time.  Bugs and pollen are the two leading indicators that late spring is upon us.

I drive a white car.  At least it used to be white.  Now its faded tennis ball green.  I just had my car washed yesterday.  Not because of the pollen, but for the bugs.  Last week I was in Upstate New York.  There are few places on earth where mass quantities of bugs meet their maker like I-90 in New York.  Wiper fluid barely makes a dent in the spatter marks on the windshield.  No, these glue-like guts require elbow grease and a heavy duty gas station squeegee to remove the last remains of the unfortunate bug that found my windshield.  It’s a sad tale, really.  This bug waited all winter to come out for the big spring bug fling.  Things were going well, hope was springing and…  thwack!  Darkness.

When I was ten years old I had a similar date with a windshield.  Running across the street I thought of nothing but the bottle I was chasing in the stream (don’t ask how the bottle got in the stream).  When it went under the bridge I dashed across the street to meet it on the other side.  Well, I dashed part way across the street.  Until I met a lovely couple who were coming back from the grocery store, talking about the latest episode of Solid Gold or CHIPS when my right leg connected with their bumper and I cartwheeled headfirst into their windshield.  I can still see the shocked expression on the face of the woman in the passenger seat.  I hope they didn’t buy ice cream that trip because it must have melted in the trunk while we sorted things out.  By we I mean everyone else.  I took the opportunity to assess the gravel on the side of the road until the ambulance arrived for me.

So I’ve had experience with windshields.  Not the catastrophic bug explosion kind, but not far from it.   Thankfully he was trying hard to stop, and my leg bore the brunt of the impact instead of my head.  But if you’re wondering just what the heck is wrong with me, well, now you know; I identify with bugs.

The other indicator of spring is this pollen.  Today it’s birch and maple gumming up my sinuses and coating everything in that lovely yellow-green.  In a few weeks it’ll be pine, which dramatically releases from the trees in a giant green cloud that drifts across the landscape looking for a point of entry into your nose and throat.  Spring has a distinct chain of events:  Pollen, sneezing, antihistamine, nodding off, caffeine, bathroom.  So I blame pollen for having to go to the bathroom more this spring.

This is the price of spring in the northeast.  Sure, you survived winter and mud season.  But Mother Nature isn’t done with you just yet.  Still, we have it better than the bugs.