• 57°

Mosaic of community tells story

My grandmother absolutely loved to put together jigsaw puzzles. For most of my childhood there was a card table sitting in her living room that was devoted to her newest brainteaser.

She was no average jigsaw puzzle player. She put together puzzles like a grandmaster played chess.

I am sure she started out at some point in her life putting together those 50- or 100-piece puzzles that you find on dollar store shelves that depict cuddly puppies or a lake surrounded by autumn color.

That must have been way before I was born, because the puzzles I remember on her table were of the 1,000-piece variety.

She loved her puzzles complex and her puzzle pieces so small that they were hard to pick up with your fingers. She didn’t care for those autumnal landscapes either. She like the puzzles that depicted scenes of 10,000 penguins in Antarctica or marbles in a jar that all seemed to be exactly alike.

My grandmother spent hours poring over those tiny pieces. I had little patience for all of that.

After five minutes of trying to match the pieces with the image on the top of the box top, I usually surrendered to my favorite Atari video games. While I was playing Space Invaders or Dig Dug, she slowly and methodically put together each one of her puzzle masterpieces.

Admittedly, I always marveled at the end result.

For the last 10 years, I have similarly reacted to The Natchez Democrat’s efforts to put together the puzzle pieces of our community into one complete package we call Profile.

For months, writers and photographers scour our community to find the stories of the people and places that make our corner of the world unique.

Each year we take those unique pieces and begin to fit them together.

The end result — and one that never ceases to amaze me each February — is a mosaic of our community that is in many ways more beautiful than the individual pieces that form it.

After all, isn’t that what a vibrant community is — a mosaic made of individual puzzle pieces fascinating and unique.

Last Sunday, we started giving readers a small hint of what this year’s Profile edition will look like.

This year’s cover will be a photomosaic made by more than 1,000 images that have been submitted to the Your Take feature in the daily newspaper.

Since its introduction in 2005, the Your Take feature has been wildly popular with readers.

There have been children, pets, balloons and snowmen. Readers have submitted pictures of the many far-away places they have visited and the many beautiful landscapes in their own backyards.

Brett Favre, Jesse Jackson and Morgan Freeman have all made appearances with locals from the community.

In that time we have seen a beautiful mosaic form in the faces and places depicted in these photographs.

Sadly, the mosaic has really only been in the mind of our readers. We have never really had a place where we can show many of the wonderful images side by side. Instead, the images have sat gathering cyber-dust waiting for the opportunity to be featured again.

From now until Feb. 26 we will slowly unveil, piece by piece, the photomosaic made up of many of our Your Takes.

Then on Sunday, Feb. 27, we will reveal how so many beautiful photos can make up an even more beautiful community of one.

Ben Hillyer is the design editor at The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.


Vidalia missing teen found after extensive search


Law enforcement agencies continue search for missing 17-year-old


Natchez hires help in procuring disaster relief funds due to winter storm damage


Officials OK signs for high school sports championship row


Adams County Water Association lifts boil water notice


Teachers, first responders to be eligible for vaccine Monday


Mississippi House votes to overhaul several state taxes


Three men arrested in connection with 2018 double homicide


Natchez Water Works lifts boil water advisory


Ferriday man arrested for alleged assault on power line workers


Health care workers excited to open Trinity Medical Center


Businesses impacted by severe winter weather


Utility companies still working to restore power, water to Miss-Lou residents


Damaged sewage line leaks raw sewage into St. Catherine’s Creek


Miss-Lou still assessing damage caused by severe winter storm


Schools reopening after winter storm

Church News

St. Mary Basilica damaged in storm, but nothing that cannot be repaired


Devin Heath named new Visit Natchez Executive Director


No in-person classes for Natchez or Concordia Parish on Monday; ACCS and Cathedral will hold classes


Mayor: Natchez water situation greatly improved


Thousands still without power in Adams County


Natchez Brewing Company gives fresh water to Natchez residents


City of Natchez needs help finding leaks during water crisis


Photo gallery: Sparkling crepe myrtles add beauty to downtown Natchez scene