Despite the rain, despite the cooler temperatures, it's here.
The Georgia drought may be close to a thing of the past, but pollen season is just getting started. And that brings tears to my eyes. Literally.
Until you live here, you can't appreciate it. And once you do, you can't believe it. I don't have allergies, but it would be hard to tell in early April when the thick yellow dust mixes with my contact lenses to form a type of torture I wouldn't wish on my enemies.
I noticed it this past weekend, but I tried to ignore it. The fact that the pollen was thick enough to warrant using my wind-shield wipers made it difficult, though. The fine yellow dust also shows up nicely on my black automobile, a reminder that the nasty stuff will be around for a month or so.
And it happened quickly. According to physicians at the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic, the pollen count went to 1,727 on Monday after reaching only 151 on Friday. Worse yet, the peak allergy season in the South is usually the second week of April.
So the worst is yet to come. By the time The Masters golf tournament is finished and the Gwinnett Braves open their new stadium, my eyes will be as dry as Jim Gaffigan's wit - but not nearly as entertaining, although my problems may cause some laughs.
In the past, pollen has caused me a few awkward moments. There was the time I covered a girls soccer game only to be attacked by the yellow stuff as I walked up to interview the winning coach. Nothing like conversing with someone you don't know well as your eyes water like a faucet.
Trying to make light of the situation, I told the coach her team's play had brought me to tears. She didn't get the joke. At that point, my eyes weren't alone in feeling uncomfortable.
Then there was a job interview, as I tried to sell a writer on moving from Valdosta to Gwinnett. He wasn't sure, and I assume that hesitancy grew as my eyes began to water from yet another pollen attack. He eventually took the job - worked for me twice, in fact - so maybe it moved him that the boss cared so much.
Whatever the case, I know my eyes are in for a battle the rest of the month. And until the pollen dissipates, there will be no tears of joy.
E-mail Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears online on Tuesdays and in Wednesday's print edition.