We were over to the Schill's home to get some Vanilla
for Susie to take back with her to Utah. When they came out with the
Vanilla Susie looked up and commented on the tree that was filled with
Mistletoe. Sister Schill commented that it was taking over all of the
tree. The life of that beautiful tree was being drained from it by the
numerous mistletoe parasites that were slowly sucking the life giving
sap from the limbs of the tree.
Sister Schill suggested that the mistletoe might make a
story for me to write. I liked the idea because I have often seen many
instances of where beautiful old trees have been completely strangled
and killed by this deadly parasite.
It is ironic that the Mistletoe is a symbol for
stealing a kiss. When this plant kisses the limb of a tree it attaches
itself and begins to suck out the life giving Sap of the tree.
A few years ago I was concerned to see that Mistletoe
was growing in some of our big old Maple trees that we had planted
long ago on the bank of the ditch along the front of our lot. Year
after year the tree struggled against the ever increasing load of
Mistletoe that was sucking it life out. Finally the tree died and we
had to cut it down and use the wood for fire wood. Of course when the
tree died the mistletoe did not have anymore life giving nourishment
so it died also. During it?s lifetime it sent out millions of
spores into the air sending them out to look for food and a healthy
host on which to attach itself.
Yagui and I found ourselves one evening in a cliffed up
area of the Chuhuichupa River where the Black Canyon River joins its
waters to the Chuhuichupa River. The water was running bank to bank
and we were looking for a place big enough for a little camp. Right
where the two rivers join we found a little place that was just what
we were looking for. When we went over there we saw that there
was a big oak tree there that had been completely covered with the
entwining branches and shiny leaves of a huge Poison Ivy vine. The
Poison Ivy had started as a tiny plant at the foot of the big Oak
Tree. Taking advantage of the cool shade of the tree and the moisture
from the near by river it grew rapidly and after many years it had
completely entwined itself around every branch of the big oak tree.
The trunk of the Poison Ivy was as big as my arm and it?s branches had
embedded their little clinging roots into the tree as it wound itself
around the branches of the oak clinging and strangling the huge oak
tree to death. I thought at the time that the Ivy had used the oak
selfishly clinging to it for support until finally the oak had
died under the strangling shade of the Giant vine.
In comparison along the rivers of the Sierra Madre if
you look carefully you can find a little gray plant attached to the
lower branches of the trees that grow along the banks of the rivers.
This little plant is called an Air Plant because it lives on the
moisture and air along the rivers. It attaches itself to the lower
limbs of the trees near the river and sends out it?s little gray
needle like leaves and lives and grows without taking anything from
the tree except It?s protection, support and shade. I have often
broken off the little dry branch that the Air Plant was fastened to
and brought them home and hung them up in the house where the plant
lived for a long time. This little plant lives with out harming
anything grateful for the protection of it?s host. In it?s way it adds
to the beauty and variety of the place where it lives.
The Wild Grape is an example of both good and bad. It
starts to grow in the shade and protection of a big tree. It sends
it?s green branches and leaves up along the tree trunk and into the
tree using the tree for support of it?s long runners. In the spring it
puts on new leaves and flowers and puts on the little blue grapes that
make such good Grape Jelly. The pioneers of the mountain colonies
gathered these grapes to make a delicious jelly to supplement their
sweets and as a change from the Molasses made from cane. Year after
year the grape vine increases sending it?s branches throughout the
tree. Thinking only of the wonderful support that it is receiving from
it?s big neighbor. Fulfilling the measure of it?s creation and
producing good fruit. In it?s rapid growth and mission of good it
takes no thought for what is happening to the tree that is giving it
support. The broad leaves of the grape soon shade the leaves of the
host tree keeping out the rays of the sun that is so necessary for the
tree?s life. Soon the tree is strangled to death in the shade of the
beautiful grape vine.
A few years ago there was on our little ranch a Wild
Cherry Tree that produced it?s little black cherries that are called
in Spanish ?Capulin?. A Grape vine was growing up into the tree. The
last time I went to the spot where the cherry tree was growing all I
could see was the huge grape vine that was growing all over
the Cherry Tree. When I went closer to look at the tree I found
that it had been strangled to death by the grapevine.
Can these example be compared to some human
relationships? Does it sometimes happen that one person leans so
heavily on another that they are nearly strangled to death. I recall
an example of the marriage where the husband under the guise of love
and protection completely dominated his wife until she faded away and
became almost insignificant and a mere shadow of her former self.
Also very common in our modern world there are those
who like the Mistletoe live off from the labor and the fruits of
others. Has the Government caused some of our people to become like
the Mistletoe attaching themselves to live off the labors of
Satan has disguised some of his evils such as gambling
and pornography or lying and stealing as something to be desired. If
we let these evils grow around us and entwine themselves in our lives
they can be as deadly to our spiritual lives as the Poison Ivy was to
the great Oak Tree near the River or even as the Grape Vine strangling
the life out of the Cherry Tree.
May we be considerate and kind and always mindful of
the welfare of others. Serving others and considering what our actions
will do to them. May we never let sin entwine itself into our lives
and thus kill us spiritually.
May the Lord bless and keep you all during this new and
wonderful year that is before us. May we choose to be happy. May we
choose to be kind. May we learn to love others as ourselves.