Have you been kissed under the mistletoe?
For many years, I pinned a plastic mistletoe to the door jam dividing my foyer and living room and standing underneath it I did receive a kiss or two, but never did I ponder the genetics or habitat of the plant, or the tradition behind the expected kiss. After all, all it was was an artificial plant; packed up each year for the next until it fell apart and was tossed in the trash. That was the extent of my relationship with the tradition of mistletoe.
When I walk my dog, I have the habit of gazing up at the trees within my field of vision. In retirement botany has captured my fancy and if I see a plant or a tree I do not recognize, I will spend a considerable amount of time on identification. The easiest way to go about this is to ask the homeowner if they are around to ask. For days, gazing up at this one particular deciduous completely bare towering tree, I noticed mid way up on a branch an almost perfectly spherule living plant, clearly unrelated to the tree.
Huh. And I know the homeowner and I planned to ask him, had not seen him, and then when I was walking past another house, I saw the same odd spherule plant on another tree. This time, the homeowner was outside and I said hello, and then I asked pointing upward,
“Am I seeing things, or is that a live plant growing on the branch of your tree?”
“You are not seeing things. It’s mistletoe. It’s a parasite.”
“Oh WOW,” I said, and I thanked her and left and couldn’t wait to go home and read all about the nature of mistletoe. When I hear the word parasite, as a dog owner, I think about fleas and ticks, but a plant as a parasite? Never before had I given it any thought. Sure enough, after researching, mistletoe is a parasite and can be so invasive to the structure of a tree, it can kill it by literally sucking the life out of it.
After reading about its origin, I then had to read about the folklore behind the tradition of kissing beneath the mistletoe.
Norsemen believed mistletoe to be a plant of peace and if enemies met under it they were obliged to stop fighting for at least a day. Known to have been found only in lightning struck oaks (the first part of the myth), mistletoe was also believed to have been imbued with the power of the lightning, and therefore sexual potency, hence considered as a symbol of fertility. After all, this made sense, since when all the trees are bare and most plants have died away, mistletoe is green and thriving. It was used in Celtic religious ceremonies and along with the killing of two white bulls (go figure), mistletoe was made into an elixir to cure infertility and the effects of poison. I wonder how that worked out? Thankfully, at some point it all got watered down to a kiss.
It is a joy to learn something new, but more importantly, to have a place to share my enthusiasm over learning something new with my FAVORITE AWESOME prose friends.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU VERY COOL WRITERS!
Love ye all so much here is my kiss to you under the mistletoe.
Allow Me to Completely Alter Your Perception of History
The original fax machine was invented nearly twenty years before the American Civil War, and six years before Edgar Allen Poe died.
The telephone was invented before Edison’s lightbulb and phonograph.
The phonograph was invented before Edison’s lightbulb.
Beethoven was born only five years before the onset of the American Revolution.
Ten years after Beethoven’s death, electrical communication (via the telegraph) would be invented.
The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) was the only successful slave revolt in all of human history.
The dinosaurs lasted over three times longer than humans live apart from them (dinosaurs evolved into existence about 240 million years ago. They went extinct only about 65 million years ago).
Christopher Columbus never actually landed on the present-day America mainland, he merely landed on islands far South of Florida.
The South American mainland was actually discovered on accident by Pedro Cabral in 1494.
The modern-day German region was one of the first nations to institute religious freedom (in 1648).
England created a government of the people about one hundred years before the American Revolution would seek to do so in North America.
Russia still technically had serfdom in 1917 (though Tsar Alexander II had attempted to abolish it in 1861…It was repealed by his son, Alexander III).
Some of the last surviving World War One veterans could have watched the first few recent “Iron Man” movies.
On that note, those who were children or young adults in the Victorian Era (when everyone wore top hats and the airplane was not even invented yet) would have been great grandparents during the 1950s and 60s (the age of classic rock and roll, classic automobiles, and nuclear weapons).
The first firearms were manufactured just under 150 years before the Medieval Ages would end.
(OPINION) Remember Joan of Arc, who led France to Victory during the Hundred Years’ War? Well, France was arguably the “bad” side in that conflict, and England was “good” (one main cause of the war was that France stated that the land promised to England could not pass through a female line, which is kind of sexist, in my opinion).
The wireless telegraph was invented 56 years before the first satellite was launched into outer space.
The lighter was invented three years before the match (the first modern lighter was invented in 1823, and the match was invented in 1826).
The water heater (invented in 1889) was invented about seventeen years before the water cooler was (invented in 1906).
The first successful airplane flight took place three years before the invention of the water cooler.
The first film (“Garden Scene”) was shot in 1888.
The first vapor-compression refrigerator was invented in 1834, literally seven years after Beethoven died.
Oxford and Cambridge Universities are older than the Aztec Empire. Oxford shall also turn 1,000 years old within the current century.
The automobile was invented when Ulysses S. Grant was still the American President and also before the telephone, Edison lightbulb, Edison phonograph, video film, and the airplane (the early combustion engine was first patented around 1872).
Although modern blood transfusions were not possible until just over one hundred years ago, when the first blood bank was established on a battlefield in Belgium during the Great War, the earliest recorded successful blood transfusion took place about two hundred years ago, in 1795.
The University of Harvard and the College of William and Mary were founded nearly 150 years before the American Revolution would even take place.
King George III actually did not care as much about keeping the colonies as did his chosen prime minister, William Pit the Younger, who was mentally insane and was boldly intent on keeping the colonies under control.
The Tea Tax that led to the Boston Tea Party actually lowered the price of tea (the thinking was, however, that after the East India company had run other markets out of business, they could ramp up the prices again, forming a monopoly).
The first airplane was invented only 66 years before Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon.
The first subway station (as in, underground train) opened in England in 1843. The purely-electric metro train quickly spread into major use shortly after its debut in 1897. By World War One, most major developed cities would have had at least one subway system.
When Mark Twain died, the telephone, lightbulb, water heater and cooler, wireless telegraph, automobile, refrigerator, electric heating and air conditioning, the metro system, and the airplane would have all been around for some time (the least of which had been present for seven years).
The first solar panel was invented in France in the early 1870s; that’s roughly seventy years before the invention of nuclear power.
Although many artists throughout the 1700s are associated with the Italian Renaissance, the Renaissance actually officially ended over one hundred and fifty years before then, in 1527.
The British Empire was arguably the largest empire that ever existed (though not the longest lasting). It is possibly rivaled by that created by Alexander the Great.
(Note: I like to consider myself well-versed in history, but I am still susceptable to mistakes. If you see anything that you feel is incorrect, please let me know in the comments, and I will look into it. Thanks!).
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately:
If the main thing that separates a sociopath from a normal person, is lack of empathy, what does that say about how feelings and emotions guide us as a society?
Some hard-nosed cynics will say feelings don’t matter. Only facts. But then why does that one single feeling of empathy, make such a difference?
1. There’s no life outside of this planet? And if we mess up everything here, there’s nowhere that we can go next?
2. Copernicus was wrong, and we actually live on a flat earth...What if there's no such thing as gravity? As alchemy? Or, what if science doesn't really exist and we can't actually explain anything on earth in a scientific way? (Okay, yes, I know that we can prove things scientifically here...I was just wondering, though)
3. Hitler wasn’t the villain he is portrayed as? What if the American Revolution is a story about a rebellious teenage nation rebelling against their mother country and then running away? (Like, what if the early American colonies were in the wrong?) What if our ancestors were smarter than we give them credit for? What if our ancestors were healthier than we are today? What if they knew true happiness and we are being dumbed down to true love for all? What if technology is hardening all of us into careless beings (over a long period of time, though)?
4. We’re actually a figment of somebody’s imagination?
5. Our emotions were real, like in Inside Out? (Wow, mine would make a battlefield of Headquarters, every single day...)
6. Elizabeth the First could step into our time now and rule...What would that be like? Or, what about Napoleon Bonaparte? Abraham Lincoln? Alexander the Great? Cleopatra?
7. We could see the reality of humanity's past...Do you think we’d be surprised at how history has been portrayed and how it really was?
8. Each of us is actually two people in one body? One side lives for the world (security and people) and the other lives for us (our dreams and passions). So, we live in a body that is conflicted against the other side.
9. I’m some robot that seems perfectly human? What if I’m here to see if humans can be fooled to accept robots as being one of them?
10. Hunger Games could become a reality...Would you kill to live? Would you become some cold-blooded murderer just so you can step out alive and start a life that really has no meaning? What if Divergent was a reality? How would you accept such a society?
* * * * *
Questions, questions, questions...Not really beliefs, conspiracies, etc., of mine.
Just questions that suddenly zoomed through my mind...
Some of them are worth thinking on, I suppose...I mean, they sure made me think. :-)
* * * * *
I think it's safe to say, everyone has been asked what defines them. Some people say their passions. Some say their friends. Some say their goals or their grades.
But why do we have to be "defined"? Why does something have to define me?
We all have unhealthy habits and toxicity in our lungs. When we breathe, those around us absorb our toxicity and sometimes, it hurts those we love most to a point they can't truly heal. Some of us choose to break those habits and change for the better.
I want tp change for the better. I want to grow. I want to be kind, compassionate, calm, and strong. Or, if you've read Divergent, I want to be the same as Four wanted to be: Honest, kind, selfless, intelligent, and brave.
However, I cannot be all of that, nor can I grow and change for the better at all, if I'm being defined. I cannot. Because definition excudes the possibility of change.
So ask me what defines me, and I will say "Nothing." Because nothing can, nothing ever will, define me. I will always grow. I'll grow stronger, kinder, more honest, smarter, etc. And if I'm defined, then that is putting limitations on my growth. But growth is limitless and I refuse to hold in my toxicity forever when I can eradicate it for longer than an eternity.
Selfishness is choosing to help yourself over someone else. Selflessness is choosing to help someone else over yourself. So if everyones life, happiness, and wellbeing are of equal value, then why is being selfish frowned upon? Aren't those things basicaly the same?
The only difference is that one helps you, and the other helps someone else. So isn't encouraging selflessness, in itself, a selfish act?
You are lying down on my experiment table
Overflowing with talent, I’m so envious of you
I want it for myself, so I picked up a scalpel
This feeling is so mysterious but pleasant, don’t you think so too?
It feels so good, but yet it ends in a blink of an eye
Why, oh why? Did I even have to do this?
And right in front of my eyes, you stopped moving
What is this fleeting bliss?
Trembling and feeble, you move your mouth to a whisper
What are you talking about?
I put my scalpel within you, paying your words no mind
I repeat the same murderous process throughout
This feeling is new to me
It’s almost impossible to describe
I don’t know what this is, I need to find out
I force more of that medicine down your throat, this congenial vibe
Why, oh why? Why did I have to see this?
And in this very moment, I become paralyzed
I can’t become like you no matter how much effort I put into it
My scalpel falls from my hands, I’m terrorized
Please won’t you give that to me?
Please won’t you give me that too?
But even with this mismatched collection,
I still can’t become like you no matter what I do
And right in front of me, you start to recede
Your warmth fading away
No matter how many times I cried tears of regret, time continued
Now I’m lying on top of the experiment table, it’s better this way