This past Christmas I made a holly and ivy fairy garden for the living room. It was part of exploring some Christmas traditions that were unfamiliar to us, which I talked about in the blog called Rituals. I dutifully called my local florist shop for an ivy plant and while there picked up one of the last two sprigs of Holly they had. Now for those of you who don’t live here in the wild greenery of British Columbia, you might not know that holly grows here in trees 15-30 feet high. I actually remember my first trip to BC when I was on tour with the Canadian Opera Company and we were performing in Port Alberni here on Vancouver Island. I was gob smacked when walking into town from our fleabag hotel and I found myself beside a hedge of holly. It had to have been 10 feet tall and hugged the sidewalk blocking the house for almost the whole block it seemed to me. It was stunning. I had to laugh because I knew that at the little flower store on Bloor at Runnymede in Toronto, by my apartment at the time, they sold single stalks of this at Christmas for 10 bucks a throw. Prized in one place, and in another, a hedge of it grew with no special value.
Fast forward twenty five years and here I am living now in British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. For my fairy garden I needed ivy and holly so back in December I bought my ivy and my holly sprig. The fairy garden is fabled to bring good luck if left up for all of January, so mine is still active in the living room, but my holly now had about as many green leaves as dead ones and I was debating discarding it, but what of my good luck garden? There certainly wasn’t holly to be bought now at the florist.
Then as we drove into our home and parked the other day, I realized that standing between my house and the next, practically on the property line, was a holly tree. I have a holly tree at my house! How did I never notice that? I could have cut a sprig, no, wait, I could have cut twenty sprigs from this tree and no one would even notice. How did I not see it?
Then when I walked the dog the next morning I realized in front of the heritage home on the other side of us, as tall as the eaves on the second floor, was a holly tree overflowing with greenery and the berries. I love. I hadn’t noticed that either. We’ve lived here for 18 months and I didn’t notice the holly trees surrounding me?
I went out today and cut a fresh sprig of holly from my newly discovered tree and it adorns my fairy garden. The good luck of the garden might be an old wives tale, but the good luck of noticing that I had exactly what I needed at my front door was the real luck.
Thoughts on Noticing you can try yourself.
In an environment where you fare familiar, stop, close your eyes, turn one quarter to your left, open your eyes and wherever your eye gazes just take in that spot. Really notice it. What is there? What is the colour? What is the texture? Dusty? Clean? Beautiful? Ugly? What is there if you really look? What are you seeing that you never noticed before?
Where in your life have you stopped looking with fresh eyes? Might that need a second look with new eyes?
Below: The holly and the ivy fairy garden I made to welcome fairies into our home to bring good luck this holiday season