Agnieszka: A joy to behold
This photograph of a young woman talking on her cellphone is simple both in concept and in execution, but if ever a picture truly spoke a thousand words, it was this one. Agnieszka told me she hesitated to post it on Flickr, believing it would simply become "one more boring self-portrait," as she put it. Instead, I regard it as a gift, and the reaction of others to this picture suggests that I am by no means alone in that belief. She exudes goodness, decency, and virtue, all of which are capped off by that zillion-megawatt smile. I was not at all surprised to learn, by the way, that Agnieszka is apparently deeply religious, and attends church regularly. Somehow, I was able to sense that just by looking at this picture, which provides a glimpse into her very soul. This should be enough to brighten up just about anyone's mood, be it ever so dour, which is why I wanted to share it with the people who are important to me.
This image provokes another thought as well. Agnieszka is 25 years old, which means she was born while Poland was still behind the Iron Curtain, but is not old enough to remember the 1979 visit of Pope John Paul II, the Solidarity movement, the Jaruszelski regime, or the threatened Soviet invasion that dominated the news back in 1980 and 1981. I've paid tribute in these cyber-pages to Pope John Paul and Ronald Reagan, in part for the role they each had in bringing down the Iron Curtain; and in this simple image of joy and goodness, we see -- in my view, at least -- a sort of microcosm of the fruit of their labors. This is not, after all, the image of someone who fears a midnight knock on her door by some shadowy secret-police organization.
I hope all of you enjoy this picture as much as I have. And as for Agnieszka, I hope she receives oodles of "good news" over the course of her lifetime, by cellphone or otherwise.
"Beato, anima bella, chi ti vede!"
-- Dante, Vita Nova XXIV.