It’s the season of bright blooms, birdsong … and pesky pollen

If there’s one thing that’ll ruin those warm, sunny days it’s allergies. And now there’s Covid-19, too

04 October 2020 - 17:19 By Sanet Oberholzer and staff reporters

The first bloom of jacarandas always transports me to my student days. In my first year at university my mother regaled me with the superstitions students harboured when she was a student. The belief is that you’ll pass your exams if a jacaranda bloom falls on your head. Others claimed you’ll pass one subject for every bloom that drops on your head. Either way, it became a game for one of my particularly crazy friends and myself. It was not at all surprising if one of us would jump up mid-sentence and do a quick shuffle to the left or right to catch a bloom mid-fall. Once a brown, wilted bloom dropped on my head and I wondered whether this was, in fact, a sign of BAD luck. We concluded that it wasn’t – it definitely counted.

Believe what you may, jacaranda season is always the most beautiful. While I started my love affair with the purple flowers back at the University of Pretoria it’s something I carried with me when I went to study at Wits. There’s nothing quite like that first blanket of purple strewn across the streets, popping gently as you drive over the blooms. And while any good Gautenger loves the first rains of spring, they inevitably result in a brownish purple slush as soon as they’ve come. It goes from awe-inspiring to heart-sinking, something akin to the feeling of elation you get at the first sign of jacaranda blooms, only to be overcome with dread at the thought that you hadn’t yet started studying. When, inevitably, such a time arrives you know it’s time to start taking strolls underneath the jacaranda trees...

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