Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Jolly Good"

Desiccated gardens,
blackened silhouettes stark 'gainst icy skies,
forlorn leaves that litter the landscape:

confronted by the raw nakedness of these somber sights of late autumn, we yearn for greater assurance of our own existence. We yearn for the certitude of comfort, for a protective warmth from real or imagined chill.

And find it--if not create it--we do.

Green and red are jolly good colours, eliciting from us Pavlovian creatures a spirited response, an uplifting of moods wrapped up in (and suppressed under) layers of wool and, for the more fashionable perhaps, cashmere as well.

We invariably take our cues from nature--Holly with its bright green and cheery red berries is no doubt the quintessential cue for holiday attire.

But so too are there other riches to be found in the garden:

the Burning Bush offers an abundance of tiny red berries this year,

though admittedly its barren branches offer little relief for seasonal disaffect,

while the Nandina offers but a few, meager clumps of red this year.

The Hypericum, too, joins the festivities, festooning itself with winter red before the inevitable snow falls.

Surely, the donning of holiday apparel bedecking our halls (and lampposts and store fronts and roof lines and trees and shrubs and walkways) provides a welcome antidote to an increasingly dour exterior, that dash of red the consummate color of jolly.

Even the summer geranium sports a fine show deep into December, its ruddiness a merry accoutrement to (porch-painted) winter white.

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