(What? You see words? Wouldn’t that be “Wordy Afternoon”?)
Some thoughts about all of this wordlessness stuff since this isn’t a photo blog. What’s the point if this isn’t a photo blog? The point is – Lagniappe, “…a little something unexpected on the side“. It is also my point toward life lately, and one of my favorite words since my first visit to New Orleans in 1975. I arrived for a brief stay and it lasted four years which, in itself, was lagniappe. The warm, sugary scent of pralines stayed with me, and I can conjure it up at any time. But it was the unexpected gift in the tiny shop on Royal Street that I remember more. I hadn’t had pralines before but was hooked after sampling one small (okay, I had a whole praline) piece. Naturally, I then ordered a copious amount. When the shopkeeper bagged them for me she also included several large dark chocolate truffles, perhaps four. I gave her a puzzled look and she said, “Lagniappe” and smiled, continuing to explain the old tradition to me, aware that I wasn’t a local. Most of us are accustomed to tipping for service, but this is when you, the customer – the tourist, the gazer, the lover – receive the unexpected reward. A very nice surprise, indeed. More lagniappe here. (Mornings for me are lagniappe. I am in love with the ever-changing light, the unpredictable direction of the early morning breeze when there is one, and the overall difference in the habitat between 7:15 a.m. and 7:20 a.m, for instance. “Little Saviors”, a story I am writing is about this – tiny moments that arrive unexpectedly and….well, you’ll have to wait until I’ve finished the story…I digress……)
What does this have to do with anything, you are thinking? (I know, I know. I can hear you) Well, consider this: there are small surprises all around us, tidbits that come when we least expect them, surprises once we’ve received what we think we paid for. They are a form of joy, gifts for being present (excuse the pun). Often, they are things we take for granted and see anew suddenly, when we have been looking at the big picture too long. So look more closely. Be alert, yet relaxed. Wait for the details to show themselves. Hmmm, how about…..snowflakes, Mallomars, blue, or any favorite color? Every snowflake an individual, unlike another; each Mallomar a luscious avenue back to childhood, appearing to be the same until you notice the nuances of difference in the swirly chocolate tops; Blue (words have meaning), magnificent in all its shades, hypnotic or cold with the addition of only one speck of another color. The possibilities are endless. I have never been able to choose a favorite color. Frankly, it depends on the day, the mood, the light, and so on. I am always surprised at what I’m moved by at any given moment, and what comes unexpected. For me, the door is wide open for lagniappe in all forms. I’m still thinking about the Mallomars….
Even the slightest shift in the environment of anything – of us – creates a new vision, a new opportunity for awareness – there’s that word again – and what happens can be an amazing thing – or not. It’s always up to us to see what is there. So, take a closer look. View an object in the light, then in a darkened room where shadows dance. Pay attention. Let yourself be surprised. View your own reflection in a mirror and then in someone else’s eyes. Same images, same people. Different insight. Often, full joy. Play. Stay open to the gift. Suspend judgement. There is lagniappe everywhere. Embrace it. Find your own unexpected little saviors and say hello. Breathe…
jacqualine-marie baxman ©2012