The clusters hang heavy in the trees, exposed as they are because of the deciduous nature of the oak forest. Most of the trees have them.

Whenever I am reminded of the kissing plant, I am back to a small house in Belgium, sitting at a weathered dinner table with my brother’s friends. Their heirs had lived on this astonishing piece of property since 1700s? I don’t remember the details. I do remember the moat and the tower in the middle of it. We walked over the moat, across a narrow, wiggly bridge to the vertical center of the tower. I don’t remember its purpose. Seemed the space was filled by the stairs. It smelled of hay left to mold and the owner kept telling us to be careful.

After a walk of the environs, we dropped down into their living space for dinner. It was as hobbitty a house as I have ever been inside. Did we go downstairs to enter? Into a narrow boot room with hooks for jackets. The ceiling was very low. And there it was, the mistletoe, hanging down, into the room. They had taken the whole thing and hung it in a doorway, crowding the space with its tangly green. It was a tradition, an annual mistletoe harvest. So glorious.


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