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The sun upon my face blinds me as my boat rocks gently through the rolling swells that lap against the hull. The sound of the droning engine mesmerizes my mind bringing a dreaminess to this bright cool winter morning. Watching the shore, the horizon never steady, the trees dance as the boat rocks slowly, port to starboard, bow to aft. The pines still green with their tufts of spiked needles remind me of my first look in the mirror in the morning, white daggers of aging hair in complete disarray, their deciduous counterparts now but bald skeletons. The seemingly bashful oaks clinging tenaciously to a handful of leaves on one side in an unsuccessful comb-over. Sycamores, tall and stately, playfully assault those that walk beneath it with hand-sized leaves that turn from emerald to russet then fall like heavy parchment to cover the cool earth. Even the needles of the Cypress change to copper beneath the Spanish moss leaving the look of rows of redheaded men with grey beards. As I leave the canal and enter the lake, to my left I see a River Birch Its bark silvery, peeling scales, beautiful in the shimmering morning light, and its leafless canopy filled with a bad toupee of greenish hazel mistletoe. Mistletoe, a curious plant, brings to mind the dichotomy of life and makes me ponder it as a metaphor for relationships. Always green, it stands out amongst the dormancy and death of winter. It seems so alive, we bring it into our homes to brighten the season. Hanging it from ceilings and doorways, it offers life and color and hope to a dreary time of year. We kiss under it, sometimes our first kiss, in hope that its magic transcends the season and brings love for a lifetime. Look more closely and we find a different story. Mistletoe lies. It gives false hope to those who need hope, to those who search for life and love and understanding. It is a parasite that lives off of the lifeblood of its host. Some varieties can decimate the entire canopy of a tree, burrowing deeply into the bark and draining from it the nutrients they both need to thrive, withering the host’s limbs. The beautiful white berries and green leaves are poisonous, as is the false hope for most who believe in its magic. If magic exists, it is dark sarcasm in Mistletoe. Glints of light catch my attention and return me from my reverie as the sun’s rays glitter like jewels on the water. I see the far bank and my destiny, the slip where I will dock. She awaits me. Is that Mistletoe I see in her grasp?

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019

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