Still Learning To See

A conversation with Witch Hazel

In a world where fake news has become indemic, where, at a minimum, it can be challenging to know what is true about so much, Witch Hazel is undeniably both real and true, especially on a sunny day against a blue sky.

I invite President-elect Trump to come stand with me in the midst of this particular plant that is right now in full flower at North Branch Nature Center .

jrs-wh-05741I’d like to talk with him about my family, friends and neighbors, all of us: impressionable young girls and boys; amazing Millennial women and wise middle-aged ones; young men, some still lost and others finding their ways; family members with skin all shades of the rainbow—jet black, beautiful brown, pale white; some are Jewish, devout Catholic, one a Methodist minister, and a handful worship otherwise or not at all in the traditional sense; some of us are straight, and others gay or Lesbian—born that way!—and some fall in between; we are former alcoholics and addicts of one thing or another; and in age range from new babies to old men.

We are diverse,—European, Native American, Chinese, Mexican, Austrian, Swabian and mostly that mix that comes with time; some are unemployed, others working hard, a few of us are retired (and now working in other ways), and there are clock-punchers and entrepreneurs; we range from wealthy to dirt poor but nearly all recognize how rich we are in family and friends; there are beautiful children, damaged by life, who will need substantial care for the rest of their lives and others who have grown up into roles of being care providers; we are Veterans and pacifists; political and not; and, importantly, while a few feel change is needed (even if what seems to have been unleashed fails to represent the best I know of them), there are many more of us who worry deeply what change the next four years will bring.

I would like to sit in the sun in the bright yellow, sweet smell of this Witch Hazel with you, Mr. Trump, and talk about all of this.



Witch Hazel, a magical plant, whose bright yellow blooms are opening now— just as we need a reminder of what is real and true.

This entry was published on November 16, 2016 at 9:31 am. It’s filed under Fall colors, John Snell, John Snell Photographer, Photograph, Vermont and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “A conversation with Witch Hazel

  1. Dale Dailey on said:

    From a “Witch-Hazel” by Elizabeth Allen

    Fearless witch-hazel! braver than the oak
    That dares not bloom till spring,
    Thus to defy the frost’s benumbing stroke
    With challenge of November blossoming!

    And yet it has an airy, delicate grace
    Denied all other flowers,
    And lights the gloom as some beloved face
    Dawns on the dark of melancholy hours.

  2. Deborah Leu on said:

    Gorgeous tree and photos. I saw one once around here on a walk, but don’t remember exactly where. I will try to find it again.

  3. kspring on said:

    This is beautiful, John. Thank you

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