While out walking on my morning break today I stepped over a sprig of mistletoe on the sidewalk. For just a moment I considered taking it back to the office to use as a decoration in my cubicle. I rejected the idea, thinking mawkishly that it would remind me every day that I have no one to steal a kiss from me.
As I walked on I began to think about all the romantic images conjured up by a beribboned sprig of this plant parasite. Mistletoe grows on the dying branches of trees, not the healthy ones. Romantic fantasies tend to grow in women without healthy emotional attachments in their lives.
It may be a stretch, but I began to feel that mistletoe is an apt allegory for allowing unhealthy romantic fantasies to fill one’s thoughts.
Just as mistletoe sucks the life from a tree, holding onto broken relationships and missed opportunities from the past, spending hours reading romance novels or waiting for a knight in shining armor to come to the rescue can waste time, get in the way of making new connections or prevent one from becoming a mature, responsible adult – and suck the joy from life.
I don’t think I’ll ever again feel quite so wistful when I see a clump of these poisonous green leaves and white berries hanging overhead.