The Holly and the Ivy


The Holly and the Ivy

It’s the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year when it’s cold — well, it used to be before climate change; today it’s 55 degrees in Central, PA — and dark, and most of us schlepp off to work in the gloom and return home from work in the same, barely noticing the sun.  We need something to help keep our spirits up.

[Outside at Longwood Gardens]

For centuries people prayed to [their] God [of choice] to bring back the light.

“The world is cold and dark,” they cried, “and we are scared.”  The wolves howled and the icy winds blew and the people didn’t have the benefit of electricity to keep their night fears at bay.  Instead, they were forced to take the low-tech option of sitting around the campfire and telling stories.

The Celts talked of the Oak King who ruled the summer solstice.  When autumn passed on toward winter and the Oak King dropped its leaves and fell into slumber, he was surpassed by his twin brother, the Holly King who ruled the forest with his evergreen leaves and bright red berries.

Year after year, the brothers fought for control of the earth with each one taking the crown at the moment his power was the greatest — then losing ground each day thereafter until he was depleted, bested by his brother once again until the next solstice.  Round and round,  year after year, the brothers’ drama played out while the rest of us gained 55 seconds of light each day from the winter solstice to the summer, and lost it again from summer to winter.

So rejoice! The sun will soon return.  In the meantime, enjoy all that modern man does to keep the night terrors away.  We have gotten quite creative over the years.

And here’s a wish for a little snow.

pjlazos 12.21.18



About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in blog, climate change, electricity, light, Snow, solstice, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to The Holly and the Ivy

  1. Love the images and you are a writer after my own soul!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lovely story. Happy Christmas

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ach, we have no snow, either. I have to watch A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott to remember what it looks like. 🙂 We’ve done some turns going to see lights, too–I love that feeling of magic in the eyes. And now I’ll be thinking of the Oak and Holly Kings dueling in the shadows, thanks to you. A most Blessed Christmas to you and yours! Hope the family can come together for the celebration. xxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. theburningheart says:

    Very nice Pam, luckily for me grew up in tropical latitudes, and the farther North I ever live was Southern California, so escaped the Holly King wrath. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. lindasschaub says:

    Oh Pam – your bright lights in the dark images are stunning and the video is just hauntingly beautiful and I am no fan of Winter and snow. Thank you for sharing it. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Bill Hoffman says:

    Have a Merry Xmas Pam!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wonderful story Pam! I’m now ready for winter (not really). But you did get me in the mood. 🙂 Enjoy the holidays too.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. A very Happy New Year to you and your family, Pam.

    As for snow, I have a feeling we’ll get lots of it in Jan. and Feb., unfortunately.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Cathy wisda says:

    After watching your video, I think my pulse rate and blood pressure dropped. So relaxing. What a nice Christmas present.🎄

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Susan Scott says:

    Such a lovely story Pam and the accompanying pictures are a delight! I couldn’t watch the video – usage blocked in SA. Don’t forget – full moon tonight. Not only the wolves will be howling at the moon … all best Christmas & Festive season wishes xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • pjlazos says:

      Susan, thanks for the reminder. I will give the wolves an assist later. Merriest of Christmases to you and your family. Thanks for spreading your particularly joyous brand of light. 🙏✨ ❤️💫 🎄🌟

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jen Engler says:

    Sorry! Trying to forward to a friend who also enjoys!!


    Liked by 3 people

  12. Jen Engler says:

    And then there’s Pam’s blog…beautiful images…


    Liked by 3 people

    • pjlazos says:

      Hi Jen!! I loved your Christmas 🎄 card and the pictures of you and Ethan! Been meaning to email you to catch up, something I still plan to do. Hope you guys have a wonderful holiday. ❤️🤗😍


  13. Ken Dowell says:

    No hint of sunshine here either. I prefer to think of today as the point at which days will start to get longer.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Thanks Pam! Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year! I don’t mind the dark days for a while, but they start to get to me around mid-January once all the Xmas decorations are put away. Looking forward to the return of the light!

    Liked by 3 people

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