Monday Poetry Prompt: Mistletoe
RESPONSE TO PROMPT BY BARTHOLOMEW BARKER ⋅ DECEMBER 13, 2021
The sturdy old house is full of merrily inebriated adults and sugar-high children. Couples are standing arm and arm near the blazing fire, tucked within the secure arms of stone laid centuries before by a long-forgotten relative.
The tree is dressed up so well, I think it would like to join the dancing. I feel its longing, wink up at its highest bough and believe that one clear light near the top, just winked back at me.
I smile in return and turn towards the back door, the one no one hardly ever uses. It’s the one that leads to the large and very dark outer ridge of the acres and acres of woods behind the house. No one notices my departure, I knew no one would.
The woods, these wonderful woods filled with the winter scents of pine, snow and that biting crisp air I both loathe and love, assail me. Welcome me.
My heart soars here, my spirit is free. Would that I could run like a fawn or fly like the hawk, alas I am after all, but a frail human. Still, I know I belong here. This is home. The smell of smoke from a distant campfire or fireplace seeps into my reverie.
Turning my head, I see a splash of something green hanging from the sleeping, naked branch of my favorite tree. It’s height is unimaginable, as is it’s age. I talk to it often.
Wonderment at all that must have passed beneath its thick, gnarled limbs over the centuries. Indigenous People’s to Conquistador’s. From cowboys to electric carriages to hippies, rock and roll and then to us, the consummate consumers.
The little green sprig becomes quite visible as the wind gently sways the branches above me. A light dusting of snow drifts onto my nose, my eye-lashes, soft cap and bright coat. Odd, I do not feel a wind. Not even a light breeze, yet the limbs move.
I see the green high above my head. A shiny red ribbon holds the clump of mistletoe together. The little bundle is caught by one of the newer branches of my tree, bared naked by winter too.
Perhaps a strong wind had torn it from its original home where it decorated someone’s front stoop or maybe a magpie snatched it up when no one was around to wave the pesky thief away. No matter, the mistletoe is beautiful up there.
I whisper a quiet thank you to my tree for sharing it’s wonderful gift with me. My tree chose that moment to dump a heap of snow right onto my head.
I collapse to my hands and knees laughing. I quiet, lifting my head to stare into dark, amber eyes. Our noses less than an inch away from one another. I’m not sure which was more surprised, yet neither of us moved, neither frightened, merely stunned.
The white wolf is massive, his head nearly twice the size of mine. As he moves closer, I lean forward. Our noses touch. He backs away suddenly, sneezes and shakes. Snow flies everywhere, including up my nose! I sneeze and then I shake too.
A low, rumbling laugh enveloped us. The wolf hears it too, looks around and within seconds, disappears within the white camouflage of the woods. I had received a kiss from a white wolf beneath a sprig of mistletoe hanging from my favorite old tree.
Joyful, I wrap my arms as far around my tree as possible, give it a big kiss and whisper thank you. Happier than I believe, I have ever felt. I spoke to nature and he’d answered.
A quiet, but deep, “You’re welcome,” ripples through the forest just before I emerge from its depths back onto the manicured lawn of humanity and slip into the home, undiscovered.