The time has come for her to visit in what has become our annual ritual. As she catches me by the arm, and as a polite gesture, I feign surprise. I am not at all startled; subtlety has never been her strong suit. She is bubbly, chatty and full of energy, and now she wants to show me her art. I have to admit, it’s difficult to remain dispassionate in the presence of such infectious effervescence. She is enthusiastic about everything.
We walk along the corridor, she is sure to stop me to show off her first works; she calls them her “green phase”. She knows this is my favorite color, and she has certainly used every shade the eye can see. As a mixed-media artist, her verdant work is breath-taking. I can’t help but admire her talent.
We move to her newer creations, and I can see how she’s progressing in her craft. She’s added splashes of pale colors and uneven textures that capture my attention and draw me into her vision. The smells run the gamut from fresh to loamy, and seem to add to the cacophony of the whole. She claps in delight as she takes in my reaction to it all.
Quite pleased with herself, she hugs me tightly. “See?” she whispers, “It’s not so bad. It’s just my turn on the wheel. Come on, let me show you something else I’m working on.” She brushes one of her long champagne curls from her face as she puts her finger to her lips, then motions for me to kneel down next to her. She pulls back some brush to reveal a litter of bunnies, just a few days old. I gasp, and she giggles, then pulls me away before the mother rabbit can see us.
She whirls me around in an ebullient dance, and just as I am getting my bearings, I notice the seedlings at the edge of the forest. I laugh, in spite of myself, “Witch Hazel? Really?” She roars, tears streaming down her face. “I couldn’t help it. The irony was too tempting. I knew if all else failed, you’d have to appreciate that, my beloved Witch.”
She does this to me every year; melts my heart with her playful presence. She draws me out of my introversion and brings me into her embrace. She never takes my reluctance as insult. Rather, she accepts the challenge with glee. She coaxes me back into my role as plant-whisperer and wildlife rescuer, every single time. I take her hand, and we dance in what will become a field of sunflowers. She lets go of my hand and pirouettes to the end one of the rows. I yell, “Spring has sprung!” and she guffaws as she waves and moves on. Next year, I’ll try not to be so reticent.