Holly Heart

A walk in woods this afternoon, and to my surprise, this beauty in vibrant green appeared on my route. It’s about as tall as me, and my hands cannot resist immediately touching the smooth-patent leaves, however, I also very quickly discovered its leaf edges are very sharp!

This tree fascinates me, I have never seen one growing-wild in woods before, and its full-of-life, verdant-coloring at this time of year is undeniable when other trees and fallen leaves around it now pale in comparison. Standing there alone, at that moment, I became filled with an emotional rush, overwhelmed by what I was experiencing.

Usually, it is a heart-shaped-something that may appear in my path, but today, I am struck by the uniqueness of this tree: it is my “heart” today, and suddenly in this realization, my escaped breath stutters into sobbing as I hold on to a leaf of a delicate branch as if it is someone’s diminutive hand. Silent, weighted tears streaming down my face, I know what I am feeling, that familiar “happy and sad” at the same time: this holly tree is a symbol of what grief means to me.

This holly tree is “evergreen” and always rooted here, statuesque through every season. Both beautiful and hurtful, it is love everlasting without phase, no matter the weather or any month of the year. Having now let go of the leaf, my watered eyes continued to outline and follow all of its character and shape. I know this holly tree, and as I walk around it, I plucked off the curled and crisp fallen leaves stuck in its patterned structure.

I cannot seem to move from this spot, I want to make sure I can find this holly tree again. So I turned and noted the other trees and markings around me and along the path, and rounding my attention back to the holly tree, today’s filtered yellow rays of now-waning sunlight now seemed to reach through its branches, almost gesturing a hug towards me.

I wish I could hug this lovely plant, but respectful distance in between seems only possible. I decided to carefully pinch the end of one of the longest branches with just a handful of leaves to take with me, my reminder of today’s found heart, and that love is always evergreen. ~Paula

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