I spy the world through a camera lens. I wander the city peering through my iphone. Since discovering instagram, I have an entirely new outlook on my own city as if I am now standing on a mountaintop with the world spread out at my feet. I stroll through the streets at a snail’s pace instead of my usual dash, stopping here and there, maybe much too often, to snap photos, capture images, capture the details of this city that I had long been seeing as a whole.
The mystery is gone. Or replaced with another, replaced with fascination. My everyday habits are no longer automatic reflexes, the city I traverse every day no longer a bundle of buildings standing tall, anonymously above the hard pavement and nothing more. I look up rather than always in front, look up and notice gorgeous detailing on buildings, statues in niches, swags of flowers, faces and animals carved into stone curving graciously, lightly over door tops. Slowed down, I look around and spy artwork, paintings, graffiti, sculptures, elegant, humorous, silly sneaking around me, waiting to be noticed, a city’s playfulness awaiting my reaction. I peer in windows and see treasures; I pause in front of glass cases and see wonderful delicacies. I sit on terraces, camera poised, and notice individuals rather than masses of movement, crowds of the anonymous.
Spending a day in Paris with David and The One, visiting the market street of Rue Poncelet with her food shops open and spilling out onto the sidewalk, I saw and experienced the food I take for granted everyday through the eyes of visitors, visitors excited by the novelty, the picturesque beauty, the very Frenchness of what was offered. We admired the roasted chickens, we tasted terrine de foie gras, we breathed in the heady scent of a jumble of cheeses. We were dazzled by the brilliant colors of rows upon rows of fruits and vegetables dressed in violet, red, yellow and greens. We ogled the pastry in the neighborhood boulangerie as for the very first time, weighing the delight of chocolate versus fruit tarts, buying a baguette as a great treat. Not exactly “look(ing) at the world through the eyes of a child” but almost. A shopping trip with David, his own phone poised to capture every enticing image, I began looking at what I was surrounded with day after day in a new light, appreciating the abundance of fresh products piled high on market stalls or stacked elegantly behind glass windows.
Wondrous beauty like objects of art, I now wander through my own city’s market and look carefully at each and every delicacy from glistening sausages and roasts decorated and wrapped like Christmas gifts, from golden apricots and fragrant berries, blocks of pale cheeses graced with ripples of black truffles like valuable ore in marble, to perfect rows of chocolate éclairs and fruit tartlets, powdery soft puffs of flour dusted and tossed over perfect oval gnocchi. The colors, the scents and odors, the shapes and textures pop out at me, offering a veritable feast before carrying home my treasures for degustation.
I now leave my home with my phone or camera clutched in my fingers, at the ready, my eyes peeled for each and every detail, unusual feature, the ordinary now seen as extraordinary. Through my iphone, I now see the magic in the world around me, the mysteries and enchantment in all that I have come to take for granted. And I am left enthralled.