The gold leaves of November lie deep, like handfuls of gold, making pathways of shining treasure strewn amid the shadows of autumn’s fast fading sunlight. No longer are they tokens of wealth, but nature’s coins carelessly discarded from another departing year.
In but a few days we will find ourselves entering those chill days of winter with nature at rest, as we prepare for that magic season when the world shuts down, giving time for man to sing his songs of joy “Fill the mead cup drain the barrel,” “Deck the halls with boughs of holly.”
For those unfortunate ones who can’t find holly at their local shopping center, it becomes time to do a little woodsy foraging for holly and other holiday greens. These are the symbolic eye feasting versions such as yaupon, poinsettia, that over the centuries have found themselves in the forefront of tradition as described by writer Bret Harte who reminds us, “And on that grave where English oak and holly And laurel wreaths entwine, Deem it not all a too presumptuousness folly, this twig of Western pine!”
Folklore describes the Druid magic, telling us that to possess a twig or branch of holly berries wards off evil winter spirits, illness and ill-fortune. These same ancient peoples suggest that a twig of holly or yaupon hanging from the rafters, rich in its brilliant leaves of dark green contrasting with ripe scarlet berries, deflects lightning and storms from inflicting damage to one’s home.
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It may be but a coincidence, but not until holly and yaupon have come into their full splendor do this nation’s weather gurus feel it’s safe to declare another hurricane season to be closed.