I have lived around holly bushes all my life, but never before have I noticed this intermediate changing of their colors. My grandmother had two enormous hollies, as tall as the front porch and sometimes as wide as the porch swing. I led the few neighborhood kids in collecting the green berries in summer, either pretending they were peas in our few pots and bowls, or having Barbie, Ken, Skipper and G. I. Joe engage in a vigorous “snowball” fight with them. Of course, we knew they were poisonous, from a very early age, which meant you didn’t eat them or you would get very sick or maybe die…, and you always washed your hands after playing with them, but we did that anyway when we came inside.
My family never decorated with the red berries at Christmas, as elegant plastic and flocked fakes were the norm, but we enjoyed the bright red berries as we came in, a bright spot in the drab winter landscape.
I never thought about the time in between the green and red; in the summer the hollies were all green, but at Christmas they were red. During this strange 2020 year, I’ve had time for extra dog walking, past many hollies, including the long sidewalk where I took these pictures.
The color change of hollies, which I had never noticed before, is a lovely thing, pea-green to peach, to bright orange, and now bright red in a few spots. Transitions in life are harder…
Today is another hard day. During the morning news, I applauded an anchor who wore a red and blue tie, rather than a monochrome ensemble. Will our country go red, or blue, or somewhere in between? I pray that whatever the outcome, we will start patching up our friendships, and being kind to one another, even when we disagree.
In the meantime, I made chicken vegetable soup and cornbread for dinner, cleaned a few things,and walked Sally and Buffy past the hollies again. I hope you enjoy these pictures of them.