Yep, 'fraid so. This is most definitely going to be a white summer. We've had such a dry and warm spring, that the cottonwood trees have been, er, fruitful with their pollinating. We are going to have a bumper crop of cotton this year. I'm kind of worried it's going to be the worst cotton season we've had since we moved here, ten years ago.
Young cotton pods in our tree. They will grow and swell, and then burst open, unleashing their cottony terror upon the innocent citizens of the neighborhood. This particular tree is not alone. It has many pod-bearing friends nearby.
We've had heavy cotton seasons in the past. Some were so bad that you'd swear we were having a major blizzard in July, and it was a blizzard, but not the cold, snowy kind. Drifts of cotton will pile up in large drifts against buildings, fences, and on lawn furniture. The cottonwood cotton is not just soft puffs floating through the air, oh no. The strands that make up the little puffs are very sticky. They glue themselves to everything, clogging window screens, and air conditioners, and it will get in your eyes, nose, and mouth if you venture outdoors. It sticks to shoes, and your pet's fur, and gets tracked inside. My flowers and vegetable plants, tops to the ground, will be completely covered and choked with cotton. The stuff is so sticky that even trying to hose it off doesn't work. And the seeds inside this sticky, yet fluffy stuff, are very eager to grow new trees. Every inch of the garden, and every pot and barrel, even puddles, will be sprouting new baby trees within hours. In heavy cotton years, I've pulled the sprouts, by the handful, while making up my own little jokes about the deforestation that I'm performing.
|Cotton covering the lawn and piling up under my neighbor's swing, summer 2007|
|Cotton blizzard as seen from up on our deck, summer 2007|
Time will tell if my fears of the worst cotton season ever will come true. Until then, I get the joy of watching the pods in the trees mature, and cringe at what it will mean for us in about a month. So, I guess I'll try to look on the bright side, and keep singing, "I'm dreaming of a white summer...".