But, I am Allergy Girl. (Picture red-nosed, red-rimmed eyes, and sensitive skin. If you must, you can add a cape, but no superpowers come with Allergy Girl except for sneezes that could blow a person away.) I have inherited "the best of" my parents allergies. From dad, I have been graced with all the pollen allergies. My mom, sinus and allergies to insects of all kinds.
1) In my early twenties my hayfever and pollen allergies were at their height. I would sneeze my way through a box of family sized kleenex. (They started including lotion about this time...thank goodness, or I would be noseless to day.) These, have followed my dads pattern where we still have allergies, but not as severe as in our 20's.
2) I used to have a much worse reaction to mosquito bites. For example, on a camping trip in Alaska when I was 11, I had about 50 mosquito bites from Alaska sized mosquitos (that means they were the size of B-52 bombers) and welts to match. Weirdly, mosquitoes still cause an itch, but it's relatively minor compared to the way it used to be.
And now I live in the fertile south (legend has it that anything you plant will grow), I am inundated with all things pollen and mold. Also, the deep south is a bastion of all things poisonous (snakes, spiders).
I will sacrifice myself for the sake of art though.
This series of Firewheel photos taken in Texas were at the expense of my legs. I sacrificed them to a horde of chiggers. I spent maybe 30 minutes taking about 100 pictures from all angles of a patch of Firewheels. LOVE THESE WILDFLOWERS. Sadly, I had no clue I was standing in a wicked nest of them until the next day when I woke up with welts all over my legs. 300+. Yes. I counted. Because you need to dab a bit of nail polish or Chig-a-Rid on each bite to suffocate the little monsters that burrow into your skin. That was fun. (So not.) But, the photo results...well, the chigger bites are a distant memory and I LOVE the photo results. But, it does make me think twice about tromping off into the woods. Especially since we have copperheads. And water moccasins. And fire ants. And spiders. And alligators. Yeah, alligators. One of the places my parents camp has a sign before you cross a boardwalk across the swamp that says, "Don't feed the alligators." Um...if the boardwalk is the equivalent of an alligator smorgasboard, I'm thinking I'm going to avoid that boardwalk. I have no intention of feeding alligators.
And don't get me started on fire ants. Evil little beasts. They are actually NOT native to the southern US, but they are making their way north, bit by bit. They are actually native to Brazil and as they move north they decimate the local ant populations. And a single ant can bite you several times. The first time I was bit in Texas, my foot swelled abnormally. Each time I was bit, it was worse to the point that I was going to the ER for antibiotics and steriods as the reaction was close to cellulosis (skin infection that could become systemic). My sister recently had a scary systemic episode. I haven't been bitten in 4-5 years, so I'm hoping my reaction would be less severe the next time I'm bit.
But. But. But... I can't resist the beauty of the outdoors! I have honeysuckle bushes at the entrance to my apartment and while they were blooming the scent collected at the top story to the entrance of my apartment. What a heavenly way to come home.
So, I modify how I interact with the outdoors. For example: these are photos taken at a local gardening store. Mmmmm....purty.
And I used to love to run...I'm hoping with my health stabilizing, I'll be able to return to walking and then eventually running again.
I have even done big outdoorsy things like a two-day-camp-in-tents-overnight canoe trip on the river between the border of Maine and Canada. And a one day trip climbing Mt. Katahdin in Maine which is one of the ends of the Appalachian trail. Those were my most adventurous outdoor activities, but I was on the coattails of true outdoorsy people. I think I have it in me, as my family likes to hike and camp. I like hiking. Camping...well, not as much, but I can be coerced into it. I bought a truck for that reason. I love rafting and have done some fun rafting trips with friends. But, in lieu of a group of outdoorsy friends, I'll hang with my artsy friends and stick to trails instead of tromping off into wild woods. Or wear wellies for foot protection. I don't know. But, it's SOOO pretty around here. I have visions of me being outdoorsy, but then the misery of Allergy Girl sets in an I modify or retreat, depending on the severity. Sigh. I'll figure it out.