: a subtle distinction or variation
: a subtle quality: nicety
: a sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicate shading (as of meaning, feeling, or value)
Nuance (n): 1781, from French nuance “slight difference, shade of color,” from nuer “to shade,” from nue “cloud,” from Gallo-Roman nuba, from Latin nubes “a cloud, mist, vapor,” from Proto-Indo-European sneudh- “fog” (source also of Avestan snaoda “clouds,” Latin obnubere “to veil,” Welsh nudd “fog,” Greek nython in Hesychius “dark, dusky“). According to Klein, a reference to “the different colors of the clouds.”
"Yankees don't understand that the Southern way of talking is a language of nuance. What we can do in the South is we can't take a word and change it just a little bit and make it mean something altogether different."
Lewis Grizzard (1946-1994, American writer and humorist, best known for his Southern demeanor and commentary on the American South)
"Sometimes I know the meaning of a word but am tired of it and feel the need for an unfamiliar, especially precise or petit term, perhaps one with a nuance that glitters my readership's exquisite sensitivity."
William Safire (1929-2009, American author, a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New York Times, journalist, and speechwriter for President Nixon speechwriter)
"People have entire relationships via text message now, but I am not partial to texting. I need context, nuance and the warmth and tone that can only come from a human voice."
Danielle Steel (b. 1947, American novelist, currently the best selling author and the fourth bestselling author of all time, with over 800 million copies sold)
"At the very core of my relationship to learning is the idea that we should be as organic as possible. We need to cultivate a deeply refined introspective sense, and build our relationship to learning around our nuance of character."
Joshua Waitzkin (b. 1976, American chess player, martial arts competitor, and author; as a child he was chess prodigy; the movie searching for Bobby Fischer is based on his early life)
"For me, each nuance of a color is in some way an individual, a being who is not only from the same race as the base color, but who definitely possesses a distinct character and personal soul."
Yves Klein (1928 –1962, French artist who was considered an important figure in post-war European art)
“For me, each nuance of a color is in some wan an individual, a being who is not only from the same race as the base color, but who definitely possesses a distinct character and personal soul.”
We no longer live a black and white world. We probably never did. But, wouldn’t it be amazing if we could accept the nuances of our world?
The last presidential election exposed the shadow parts of our collective, the deep-seeded unknown mean-spiritedness of our consciousness. It was shocking to witness our own venom.
As Leonard Cohen once wisely taught us: “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in …”
It’s equally surprising to witness when perfect strangers reveal their hearts and reach across the aisle to express kindness and compassion to others unlike themselves. These subtle unsung moments should be magnified and celebrated.
Over the weekend, I met a dear friend to see the movie, “Hidden Figures.” The early show was sold out, so we decided to wait for the next one. While we were waiting Sharon needed to buy some contact solution, so we ventured over to mall to see if she could buy some at an eyeglass place. The first store was impersonal and unhelpful, so Sharon encouraged us to move on until we found an optician at the Sears department store.
This eyewear department area was unimpressive and small with only one woman taking care of five customers who were waiting for her. The woman who happened to be Caucasian American was methodical but playful, joking with the Hispanic family of three she assisted. She was either an optician or the optometrist. But, it didn’t take long to get her attention to ask her if she carried contact solution. She said she had samples and kindly asked us to wait until she took care of everyone else. We thanked her and said he would wait as long as it took.
An elderly white woman sitting near smiled and looked upon us curiously. When the optician got up to fix the glasses in the other room, she apologized and moved a heater out of the way of an older white gentleman who was making his way around the store trying on glasses. He said, “I didn’t even noticed that there without my glasses.” We all laughed, totally understanding.
It didn’t take long before the woman with kind eyes came back with not samples, but with two big boxes of contact solutions for Sharon to choose from, free of charge.
In awe, we returned to the movies an hour before the show, and sat comfortably outside the assigned theater as more people arrived. First, came a black family from Tampa who was determined to get the best handicap seats for their mother who was in a wheelchair. They laughed and joked with us like we all knew each other.
Along came a middle-aged white couple, who walked back and forth waiting to get in position. The woman sat on the floor next to us and jumped into our conversation. The woman who had a beautiful smile said she was a quilter, and asked us if we knew of the history of the African-American quilters of Gee’s Bend of Alabama. We said that we hadn’t. She and her husband then gave us their phones and showed us pictures of these amazing colorful and artistic quilts. The woman got emotional telling us of the adversity these black women had gone through. She said that racial harmony meant so much to her. She recalled being raised in Georgia having a black girl as a best friend. Their teachers met with their parents to break friendship up, which did NOT work. We thanked her and wished everyone well and got our seats.
Sharon and I marveled at this amazing day, one filled with nuances of unexpected kindness and compassion.
Sojourners, be vigilant and on the lookout for the miraculous connections, those that create peace in our world, daily.
Written with Love, Tonya