When my friends first hear about the potion, they wonder. Watch me from the corners of their eyes to see if I'm more than normally irrational.
Leaves and berry of Ashe Juniper, (Juniperus ashei) AKA Damn Cedar --->
But once friends experience a bout of Cedar Fever, the mid-December to late-March malady that slams Texas Hill Country residents, they want to know about the Potion.
If you live in the Hill Country, you can't get away from the Fever. It's a reaction to the annual mating ritual of the Ashe Juniper trees that cover our hills. From December through March, male trees explode pollen--trees releasing here and there, not all at once. No, the other males nearby hold off, firing days, weeks or months later. It's a coordinated plot for a fourth-month yellow mist of misery.
Ashe Juniper thicket behind our home. Yes, we could cut it down to clear the air-space. But I believe every yard needs a sanctuary. Small birds shelter in the thicket when hawks fly overhead or bad weather blasts. And others, like our seasonal black-chin hummingbirds and year-round cardinals, nest there.
A continuous rain of pollen may be good for the female trees, but humans burn and shiver, sinuses swell until heads explode, and folks think about dying as a form of relief. I only know this from personal, pre-potion experience.
You might be wondering about the potion. It's a folk remedy passed on by David Will, noted horticulturalist, who knows nearly everything about native plants of this region. He's not a doctor but I couldn't find any reference saying a dilute solution would harm us.
We're not doctors either but after four years of potion, we're not dead, for whatever that's worth.
So if you want to check it out for yourself, the recipe is here: Cedar Fever Cure, but you're on your own with risk and all that.
The Fever is a drawback to living in the Hill Country but other places have hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, mudslides and earthquakes. I'll take the quirky beauty of the Texas Hill Country.
And the potion.
Copyright 2009-2011 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.