A few years back I went on a walk with my father. The Avon was running with its usual mild ferocity, neither fast nor slow, the kind of course that trances you, movements so synonymous to your step that you may just as well be in the flow itself.
‘Mistletoe,’ my father said, pulling me from the river. ‘Do you see? Up there in that poplar.’
I turned my gaze to the bordering forest. ‘I’m not sure what I’m looking at Dad.’
‘Mistletoe, there,’ he pointed once more, beyond the dark trunk of a nearby poplar and its splaying limbs, high into the tree’s canopy. ‘You see those balls of foliage?’
I nodded. ‘That’s mistletoe?’
‘Yes. It’s a parasite, feeds off the nutrients of the host tree.’
I was amazed. What had always been a showpiece, hung from the rafters of a wintering home, was now alive, bathed in the inspiring light of context. I had never known its place in the world, merely assumed. What a marvel it was to see that mistletoe, hanging from nature’s very own rafters. From the ground, in the safe arms of my subconscious, I climbed towards it– climbed upon it, examined its contours, its berries, its leaves, its parasitic tendrils rife upon its host.