Still Learning To See


I know many dislike November’s weather, darker and colder. I see it as a time to go look at new ice forming on ponds and rivers. The transformation of water to ice and vapor (clouds) is truly miraculous. It all happens in a few degrees of temperature difference, none fixed as we’ve been led to believe. Ice can evaporate, water can be supercooled, and what takes place in the cauldron of a cloud is nothing short of spectacular.

The boundaries we have grown to believe about life are often simply figments of our imagination or, perhaps, an attempt to bring some hypothetical order to a truly and wonderfully mixed up universe.

Recently I’ve been writing about my mom, a remarkable woman who lived to be 96, someone who easily accepted people for who they were and always ready to speak to “the best” in people. If my mom did not like you, and there were a few in that category, you must have been really bad!

She often spoke of her times at Johns Hopkins, where she took graduated studies to become an R.N. (Registered Nurse). She especially loved the beauty of Richmond, and had immense pride for that medical community. One day, this would have been about 1985, so I was in my late 30s and she in her 70s, she mentioned, sort of offhandedly, that Johns Hopkins was one of the few places in the country where people could have sex-change operations. This was not a commonly discussed topic anywhere in society at that time, and certainly not one I’d ever heard her mention. I don’t know what had brought it to her mind and our conversation  but she went on to describe how proud she was that people who had been born in the wrong body could have changes made so they could be who they really were.

As someone who has long closely observed the natural world, there are endless examples of how sometimes things get “mixed up” and come out differently than we may expect. In fact there are not many things that actually look the way they are “supposed” to when we look closely. Life is more a continuum than anything that follows hard and fast rules. Were that not the case, none of us—even creationists who may deny what I am saying—would exist. Thankfully I am one of more and more who are grateful for the rainbow diversity of life, especially human life.

But today is a day to remember those trans people who have been murdered because of who they were. Their inspiring courage to be exactly who they were makes their deaths all the more tragic. I send my love to the friends and families of those who have died and pledge to do what I can to help end this.

This entry was published on November 20, 2020 at 6:28 pm. It’s filed under Clouds, Ice, John Snell, John Snell Photographer, Photograph, Water and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Remembering

  1. thank you John for your observations, remembrances and thoughts. Always eye-opening and uplifting. t

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