Holly

History believed in your magic power
Object of healing and deliverance from evil
Legend made you a crown for Saturn’s brow
Lore of Druids: tree of eternal life, that lightning won’t strike
Yuletide of yore endures

The holly tree was believed to have eternal life as it remained green in winter when other trees appeared to die. It is a symbol of endurance. This lovely specimen grows by the playground of the school where I work. Stuff of ancient legends and lore aside, its merry, festive appearance is a spirit-lifter here on the cusp of winter break

Mouse

My first thought, on opening the garage door:
Oh, look, a toad, jumping from the step…
Until I discerned that this gray smudge of a creature
Scurrying to hide behind my boots was furry and
Evading me like the plague…

Mouse. Rob Powell. CC BY-SA

Mice are better leapers than frogs. Just sayin’.

Light reading

A friend who knows my affinity for the natural world gave me The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times. It’s written as a conversation between Jane Goodall and her interviewer, Douglas Abrams. When I say it’s part of my current “light reading” I don’t mean easy (although it is) or frivolous (for it is not).

I mean light as in candleglow dancing on the walls of a dark room.

I’ve not gotten far yet but here are some lines that draw me in the first couple of chapters—flickerings of my own credo:

Hope is a survival trait.

The naturalist looks for the wonder of nature – she listens to the voice of nature and learns from it as she tries to understand it.

Hope does not deny all the difficulty and all the danger that exists, but is not stopped by them. There’s a lot of darkness, but our actions create the light.

And this from an Inuit elder, on confronting and healing our grief, which can manifest itself in the body as physical pain: Make space for grief…find awe and joy in every day.

—these, I believe. They are often the very reason why I write.

Recipe for Survival

Hold onto hope, and it will hold you
Open the ears, eyes, arms of your spirit
Perceive the call of awe, all around
Embrace it. Let the healing begin.