I left the hollies right after the dusting of snow on Saturday night. I like the hollies and all, but sometimes their personalities are a little too prickly for me. I headed over to the Rose Garden and have been enjoying the sunshine during the day and the lights during the night. In the evenings, lots of cars drive by, touring the Garden of Lights. I notice that cars seem to have a shorter wait earlier in the week so if you hate lines, Monday through Wednesdays are probably the best nights for you to come. However, it doesn’t seem to bother most people, because I hear lots of happy voices as they drive by no matter what night they come. The lights must be really good this year. I know what I’ve seen so far is great.
I’m going to tell you a secret, but you must promise not to tell the gardeners. I am right under some mistletoe in a tree. Of course you know what you have to do now.
Mistletoe is an interesting plant. It is a partial parasite. It is most often found growing on other plants – sending its roots into a tree to take up nutrients. However, it can also produce its own food through photosynthesis and can grow on its own without a host plant. There are two types – the traditional European mistletoe (Viscum album) and a North American native (Phoradendron flavescens) whose company I am enjoying right now.
The European mistletoe is the source of many legends and customs that we know today. It was thought to posses mystical powers and people hung it from ceilings and doorways to ward off evil spirits and to provide protection from witchcraft and sorcery. Romans started kissing under the hanging plant during Saturnalia festivals. It became a Christmas tradition long before Christmas trees appeared on the scene. Proper etiquette requires a man to pluck one of the white berries when he kisses a woman under the mistletoe and when the last berry is gone, there should be no more kissing under the mistletoe.
Frankly, I need some people to show me some love. I’m called a weed and I’ve done no harm while the parasite hanging over my head is part of a beloved tradition. The irony has not escaped me. So here I sit, under the mistletoe with plenty of white berries. I’m just waiting for you.