The flowers have begun to bloom in Texas. The leaves are budding on all the trees who aren’t live oaks. The live oaks are shedding their winter coats, and there-in lies my divided feelings about the end of winter. I am allergic to tree pollen, mold spores, and the grungy green gungus that goes with re-awakening life. This weekend I raked live oak leaves and cut the grass in the yard. So today, I am paying the price. I have an arthritic back-ache. I have an allergic-reaction headache. I hurt a lot and I can’t breathe. But I got to see the fresh blooms of another growing season. A little pain… and then renewal.