Grackle & Sun

Queen of Winter

A lot has been going on the last couple months.  Things that have kept me from being creative or productive or myself, really.   Sometime I might be able to write about this, but honestly whether or not I will work up the courage to hit “publish” is another matter entirely.  In the meantime, here is a wonderful example of the subtlety of Nature and a gentle reminder to open one’s eyes and one’s senses so as not to miss the beauty hiding in plain sight all around us.  This is one of my favourite plants in the yard:

Hamamelis vernalis, the Ozark Witch Hazel

hamamelis vernalis 3-16-2013 12-21-42 PM

During these months, this little shrub is easy to overlook, the eye drawn to the striking silhouettes of greater trees with their stark bones outlined darkly in the winter sky.   She looks like this every year—withered and brown—for a good month or so before I remember what it is that I am actually seeing.  I am slow as molasses.  I always forget and think that those are dead leaves too stubborn to come off their stems.  Like those of the pin oaks that are all too common in St. Louis neighborhoods, dropping dead leaves all winter long.   But they are not.  They are her flowers, beautiful and otherworldly, releasing their heady, spicy-sweet fragrance to the cold spring air—and to anyone who knows well enough to step closer.  I remember to do so.  Eventually.

hamamelis vernalis 3-16-2013 12-21-12 PMJust when I’ve had all the winter I can take, the witch hazel sends her gift—a call to awaken.  I need reminders like this often.  Open your eyes!  Look around you!  Breathe deeply!  Wake up!  Time for the sap to rise, time to shake off introspection and move into action.  And always, always time to find beauty no matter what the circumstance is around you.  And when you cannot find it, make it.  Make it!  And know you are not alone.  There is the witch hazel, making beauty while all else succumbs to sleep still.  That is true strength.

Soon enough the sun will shine again.


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10 thoughts on “Queen of Winter

  1. I wish I always had the strength to believe the sun will shine again. Thanks for sharing your reminder nonetheless.

  2. I love this… up here in NY I have been searching for a daily sign of spring to remind me that the winter is nearly over, the thaw is imminent, and soon enough we can shed our coats and hats and feel the sun on bare skin. Take heart, the dark days are nearly over!

  3. Wishing you relief from all the difficulty that winter symbolises about now. The witch hazel is glorious! In my part of the world we are turning toward autumn and the relief here is palpable too.

  4. We are coming upon another turn of the wheel. . . . where we achieve a point of equilibrium and move steadily toward the fullness of light. Let the wheel pick you up and carry you along. It has been a hard period of darkness – harder than most – and what helps is the knowledge that the wheel is always turning and we are always in a state of motion and what is here today may be gone tomorrow – and that is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not. I wish for you a happy and growing glow that increases with the growing light. As you so clearly recognize in your post – even in times of cold and stillness, life and beauty exist and is there if you but look. Aww Dre, I hate to think of you not being able to be yourself, because I have so come to enjoy reading about all those things that are part of you. I will hold you in my heart as the wheel turns.

  5. I actually love this time of year, I see all kinds of stuff in the woods that will soon be hidden by growth. And I’ve seen crocus and snow drops blooming :)

  6. Thank you all for your kind words and insights!

  7. It’s tough not to be in a position to do things that are close to your heart–like being creative–but it is harder still to feel that you can’t be yourself. Whether or not you decide to ‘publish’, I hope that you’re finding ways to be yourself.

  8. I love how you see the beauty in the midst of winter! Thanks for sharing!

  9. deedeemallon on said:

    what a wonderful paean to the common witch hazel! I planted one last year precisely to have this kind of wake up call after a long winter (but alas, I’m not sure it survived the winter… I shall have to inspect further). I’ll let you know.

    also the business about having business that is pressing/concerning/text worthy and wondering whether or how to share, is a dilemma shared by all bloggers, I think – particularly those with children. It is a funny paradox how careful I am about my sons’ identities and dilemmas, when they constantly and with abandon expose themselves online, sometimes in forums I’ve yet to even hear about. I am glad I don’t know even the rough contours of what goes on there.

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