In With The New

by Brian Griffin January 01, 2020

In With The New

The holiday season is a wonderful example of saving the best for last. This is because even though there are other holidays throughout the year, it is the ones at the end of the year that celebrate the bountiful harvests, the spirit of giving, and the renewal of life. For me the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is a time of reflection. I look back on where I was when the year began so I can determine which areas of my life I am happiest with and which areas still need more work. Not so much to make some sort of grand New Years resolution I may or may not keep, as to just make a game plan that should afford me a better chance of improving in the areas I'm less than pleased with. No matter whether they are leftovers from the year or years before, or new elements that have come into play recently. Entering the new year is never a completely clean slate for me, I almost always set my goals high enough that I can never reach them all in a year. It keeps me motivated, keeps me pushing. But this week is when I can wipe away those completed goals, and any that have ceased to matter, and write in the news ones that I want to work this year. 

We all find ourselves facing struggles now and then. Some years are much harder on us than others, that's just the way of things. The bad years we experience are the vehicles through which we can recognize and appreciate the good ones. In the years when the going is especially tough I try to remind myself of some of the symbology behind the sprigs of mistletoe hanging here and there during the winter holidays. The goal is to remember that even in the barest of times good things can flourish bloom and bear fruit. And that is a really encouraging thought to remember.


For the ancient Celts mistletoe was a sacred. It was seen as a plant of great power because it could flower in the middle of the frozen winter. Because it would be thriving at a time when all the Oaks Birches and Maples that it favors had already lost their leaves and gone dormant for the season. Thus they believed the plant to be a divine guardian of the trees' spirits, so they held it in high esteem as a symbol of strength, protection, and vivacity. Among the many, and varying, accounts of how the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe came to be are some which say it was believed that expressing love beneath the mistletoe means the mistletoe becomes a guardian for the spirit of that love, and will protect it through any troubled seasons that may come in the future.  


It is this characteristic of the plants growth that makes the Mistletoe easy to spot. Just look for the patches of vibrant green glowing amid the tangle of lifeless gray of deciduous trees branches in the winter. The oldest and largest bunches will usually be found growing very high up in the tallest trees where it can get more sun. But sometimes, in more open areas, it can be found growing within or almost within our reach, and all we need to do is exercise a little creativity to harvest it.

So wherever you are and whatever your disposition this winter, whether your with someone or not, try to remember some of the symbology behind the tradition of kissing 'neath the mistletoe. If you're blessed enough to be with the one you love, then kiss them like there won't be a tomorrow and leave them with no doubts of what they mean to you. If you're in one of those tough years, when things are feeling less than hopeful, then try to remember that even in the coldest seasons of our lives, seeds that were quietly planted months before can suddenly become very pleasant surprises. Surprises that can grow and flourish in what we expected to be the very bleakest days of all.   




Brian Griffin
Brian Griffin

Author

Brian Griffin is an author, photographer, wilderness and survival skills teacher, knife enthusiast, outdoor gear researcher and product development consultant. He has a decades-long history of using and developing outdoor related tools and gear.



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Articles

Cross-Country Travel
Cross-Country Travel

by Kevin Estela January 27, 2021

In January of 2021, I embarked on a cross country trip from Connecticut to Utah where I would start a new career with the company Fieldcraft Survival. This marked an incredible life change where I not only left my comfortable teaching career of 14 years in a public high school, but also the townhouse I called home for 7.5 years. It’s one thing to keep your job and switch homes and another thing to keep your home and switch jobs. Switching both places where you live and work is absolutely something that takes careful planning and consideration. My move required transporting most of the contents of my house 2500 miles and some of those contents I would not trust to moving companies. It also meant not getting arrested with more than a couple firearms and plenty of ammo in tow. While it was stressful, the move didn’t break me. Like all moments with pressure and stress in life, this change would definitely make me stronger if it didn’t make me crack in the process.

Read More

The Contingent Mind
The Contingent Mind

by Brian Griffin January 13, 2021 4 Comments

Back in November I wrote an article on a small pocket contingency kit. A little something extra to augment the usual items we carry. Our daily carry gear are actually our first line of contingency mitigation, even if we've carried them so long we've quit seeing that aspect of our edc. Because the whole point is be prepared to tackle our day to day life, and whatever comes with it. To be able to overcome any mundane obstacles we might encounter on any Tuesday morning's commute to work, Saturday trip to the zoo with the kiddos, or a Sunday outing with our congregation after church.

Read More

BuT tHiS kNiFE iS BeTteR!
BuT tHiS kNiFE iS BeTteR!

by Kevin Estela December 16, 2020 1 Comment

A couple decades ago, discussion forums were THE place for folks in the knife community to share ideas, argue, and discuss blades. Remember those days? Remember having to use photo sharing services that required uploading photos from a digital camera, copying a link, and posting it to a thread? Remember the days of dial-up connections and large files that took forever to download and appear on your screen? Those were the days when only the professional photographers had cameras capable of producing photos that looked print-magazine worthy. The internet has changed dramatically over the years and today modern cell-phone cameras rival professional DSLR counterparts. Today, anyone can produce a quality photo with the right light, contrast, and vignette settings. Today, filters make everyone an Instagram star and everyone feels entitled to opine when an idea is presented that runs counter to theirs. This month’s Fiddleback Forge blog is all about those wonderful engagements with “experts” who have to put in their .02 cents worth. I thought it would be fun to look at common arguments made and explain the logic or lack thereof. If you’ve ever had someone start a “flame war”, “pissing match”, or “D*#k-measuring” competition, please keep reading. You may get a laugh out of this one.

Read More

Knives & News

Sign up with your favorite email.