Holly, Ice Storms, & Me


Icy Holly D Maher

This has been a nose-to-the-grindstone week. It’s also been a week with weather challenges days and nights of zero (F) or below actual temperatures, even colder wind chill factors, freezing rain turning to snow and then snow. I saw a weather map about mid-week which showed only one state in the 50 US states without snow. No, it wasn’t Hawaii, but Florida. At least those of us in the Midwest knew others felt our “pain.” 🙂

Just as my grandmother used to say whenever I’d grumble about bad things happening to me, “Every cloud has a silver lining,” a writer friend of mine who lives in Pennsylvania posted a photo of what she saw after a horrific ice storm had pretty much closed down her area.

The photo drew me in. I kept going back to it and finally asked Deb if I could use it with on this week’s blog. She agreed so thank you Deb Maher for sharing the silver in your ice-storm cloud.

But what drew me to that particular photo? Why did it speak to me over and over and then over again? How could I relate it to what I try to do with this blog each week: give my readers something to ponder and perhaps grow from, or at least help them get through another week.

So I did some research about the holly plant which was the photo’s focus. Sure I knew it was the symbol of Christmas and as such, prominent in one of my favorite Christmas carols, The Holly and the Ivy. Early Christians used the holly as a symbol for being hardy and withstanding adversity. The plant also had significance for pagans so Christians using it provided new Christians to retain elements of old.

Kind of like me who tries to straddle peacefully the old and the new.

Holly is also a symbol for truth. That also appeals to me. I’m truthful and hate being lied to.

Holly is hardy and withstands bad weather, poor soil, minimal sunshine. Sure it would like great weather, excellent soil conditions, and perfect amounts of sun and rain. But it survives; it may not be at its best but it keeps on going. It perseveres. I’ve been told I’m a survivor, and I’ve learned I am. Tough times have made me stronger. Again another reason I felt drawn to the photo. I expect that plant to survive this trauma and bloom once more.

Berries for the Birds

So, I think this photo had many characteristics that drew me to it. It forced me to think about the plant and its history. Another silver lining in the cloudy, crummy weather we’ve endured this past week.

So what do you think? Am I like the holly? Or something else? Or was this whole digging into the relevance of this gorgeous photo one more exercise in futility?

Let me know and have a great week. 🙂

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7 Comments on “Holly, Ice Storms, & Me”

  1. Deb Maher Says:

    I, too, love holly. When we moved to southern Indiana from Wisconsin, we had a holly tree in our new front yard. It was shaped like a Christmas tree, and about 15 feet tall. It endured both the raging heat of summer and winter’s cold, including ice storms. Yet it survived, staying green throughout the year, producing beautiful red berries in the early winter.

    When we built our home here in Pennsylvania, we planted five holly bushes in front of our porch – four female and one male. Did you know the female won’t produce the brilliant red berries without a male nearby? 😉 Our bushes have endured for close to twenty years now, despite my poor gardening skills.

    Your blog is a tribute to this glorious bush, and to perseverance. Nicely written!

  2. caseyclifford Says:

    Deb,

    I did know about some bushes being male and some female and the berries don’t arrive without both of them. Sort of like humans, right? I also learned that that holly varieties are near extinct because they haven’t had both M&F. I just love your photo. 🙂

  3. Edie Ramer Says:

    I just learned a lot about hollies, and I learned something about you, too, MJ. Gorgeous picture. I do love the sight of something blooming when there’s snow or ice around it.

    I do think you’re a survivor. I believe most of us are wired that way. Only a few aren’t. At some point or other, I think most of us run into a rough time, so we need to be like a holly bush.

  4. Morganne Says:

    Dear Mary Jo,

    When I saw this photo of Deb’s I too was struck by its beauty and composition. In this mass of ice the green (growth) struck me. So did the one red (fire)berry; one bit of colorful heat in an ice ensconced landscape. One bit of truth, fortitude and fire is all it takes combined with the promise of growth to flourish.

    Perhaps it’s just a cool photo. Perhaps it’s all in what we choose to see.

    Great Post, M.J.! Thanks!

  5. Casey Says:

    Edie,

    Thanks for saying you learned something. I always do when I check out MM and your blog. Have a great day.:-)

  6. Casey Says:

    Morganne,

    Since you’re a Scot and I’m Irish, perhaps the appeal of the photo has to do with our heritage of struggle and mystical beauty. Have a great day! 🙂

  7. Morganne Says:

    Definitely mystical. I think you nailed that one!


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