Happy Honey

Happy Honey

Someone I used to know once said to me that Swedish photographers are afraid of specializing. He never elaborated on the statement and knowing him, it was probably something he’d heard off-handedly from someone and hijacked it to sound less boring and more profound.

I’ve nevertheless thought about what he said a few decades ago.

I’m far too interested in far too many things to even have considered specializing in one particular field of photography, painting, or writing. It would be easy for me to argue the virtue of how it would have been better for me to be good at one field than half-assed good at many. But I love life too much not to find just about everything in it appealing and worthy of my attention, time, and creativity.

The woman above was hawking homemade honey on a side street in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. She gave me a taste, and her honey was awesome. Though I wasn’t in the market for her goods and we couldn’t communicate very well, I do remember how happy she seemed and it got me wondering about her life and how content she seemed to be with the hand fate had dealt her.

She must have been around 80 at the time, so I assumed that her younger years were mostly spent during the Cold War era, much of it under the rule of fellow Georgian Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili aka Stalin.

A short while ago, I asked a cashier roughly my age at our local supermarket how she was doing. I usually ask this but rarely get much more than a polite reply that it’s all good. This cashier, though, surprised me. Her answer was somehow profound.

She told me that things were as good as they could be and that she was happy with how things had turned out. That as a young girl, all she wanted to be was a cashier and even if her ambitions and expectations weren’t very pretentious, she was still happy. From time to time, I think about what the cashier said and how there’s something “zen” about her attitude and perspective.