Still Learning To See

In the midst of all this…

Like many I have been amazed at how, despite a “calendar” that is now empty, I am not only busy but at the end of the day, exhausted. Lots of actual doing and even more thinking and feeling kinds of “doing” and even with a nap in the afternoon—essential!—and the meditation of walking or sitting eyes closed and guided, the days are full, mostly satisfying and, in the end, tiring enough to either preclude dreams or keep them deeply held in the subconscious. We all seem to be travelling at warp speed.Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 8.12.21 AM.png

One brief, continuing rant regarding the racist attacks on China: in the midst of all this great need for humanity, a resolution has been introduced into Congress that condemns China for starting this virus.  It has been billed as “bipartisan,” though it has only a single Democrat endorsing it at this point. Here is the list of those supporting it to date: Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Reps. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., Austin Scott, R-Ga., Trent Kelly, R-Miss., Brian Babin, R-Texas, Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Greg Steube, R-Fla., Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., Mike Rogers, R-Ala., Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Jason Smith, R-Mo.

Simultaneously, vicious attacks have been reported this week on several people who are, in fact, or simply appeared to be Asian. I clearly remember my mother describing with tears of shame the signs she saw as a child in the Public Garden in Shanghai saying “No dogs or Chinese allowed.” She was mortified for humanity.


In the backdrop of growing up in our home were many Chinese objects from my parents lives there, lasting into their early 20s, and the many connections to China that continued to be valued as I was growing up. In particular I remember scrolls with images of flowers, one of which hangs in our living room still and several others in various places in our home. These paintings have so obviously shaped much of my photography and my love of gardening. The Plum blossoms I pruned last week are now in full flower, the house delightfully filled with their scent. I know my love for them is a direct consequence of China and appreciate that fact.

If you are so moved, I’d ask that you email any of the Congressional delegates on the list above with whom you may have sway, and ask them to remove themselves from sponsoring this resolution. I, for one, do not share their views. We are all in this together, mistakes included, ours as well as those made elsewhere in the world.


This entry was published on March 25, 2020 at 8:29 pm. It’s filed under John Snell, John Snell Photographer, Vermont, and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “In the midst of all this…

  1. Joyce Kahn on said:

    A lovely post, John. Thank you. I can almost smell the fragrance of your plum blossoms.
    Hatred of the other, of those perceived to be different and thus threatening, is one of humans’ most despicable traits. Your referencing the sign, “No dogs or Chinese allowed” reminded me the other groups whose names were substituted for Chinese in other times and places,with often catastrophic consequences. Jews, Blacks, Irish, Roma and countless others have paid with their lives because of this bigotry. If only this racism was due to a faulty gene, I would be in favor of excising it from the human genome. Would it were that simple!

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