“The Wisdom Tree” by Randy Siegel. Learn more about Randy Siegel varied and searching work at

I, Laura, have been blessed to know Randy for to decades through our parallel journeys among self-discovery, community-building, and art-making in Asheville. Randy’s paintings have long spoken to me of the many ways we have at our fingertips for self-expression, and within genres and medium, many more.

I fell in love with “The Wisdom Tree” the moment Randy posted it on facebook. I asked him if I could use it in the marketing materials for the Asheville Wordfest first (the poetry and community festival I run in the Spring), and then I realized the image works perfectly for what we are aiming to accomplish with Narrative Healthcare.

The image presents both the visible and the invisible. The evident and that which requires imagination to perceive. Dr. Charon’s work with incorporating narrative practice into medical training reflects the very nature of trees: there is that which shows up on the “chart” and that which must be listened for and interpreted. Also, it reflects the truth about ourselves—whether practitioner or patient and eventually both–there is more to each of us than meets the eye, and writing and telling bring it to the surface.

How many metaphors do you see? Send them to me, and I’ll share them in the blog.

Thank you, Randy, for the use of this gorgeous painting.