If you’re a gardener in the Southern Appalachia area, winter is a bleak season and seems to last way longer than it should. No blooming flowers or trees in sight, only evergreens providing a contrast to the drab brown landscape—unless you grow witch hazel. Sunshine-yellow frilly clusters all over the bush, deer-resistant, doesn’t mind snow, and native to North America. Yes, the skin product by the same name comes from the bush. No, nothing about it is associated with sorcery. Early Native Americans used the leaves and bark for ailments ranging from skin ulcers to hemorrhoids. English settlers named it “wicke wych,” old Anglo-Saxon words meaning lively bend, when they learned to use the Y-shaped branches for dowsing, an ancient method for finding underground water.
Do I have witch hazel bushes growing at my place? You betcha. Livens up the yard and makes me smile every time I see them. Living proof there is no season during the year and our lives without a bright spot. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder for it. “This I know: God is for me. In God, whose word I praise; in God I trust, I will not fear. What can man do to me? For God delivered me from death, even my feet from stumbling, to walk before Him in the light of life.” Psalm 56:9-13
What makes you smile during the long, dreary days of winter?