I was in Spain a couple of years ago and the breath-taking scenery stunned me into silence (rarely does this happen, let me tell you). But one thing that caught my eye as an avid photographer was not the golden beaches or the golden tans of the beautiful people walking across the sand.
It was the world in the background that tourists always fail to see and the residents of the towns try to ignore.
There was a homeless woman sitting beneath a blanket, all the possessions she owned in the world were scattered around her and a tear watered my eye. I don’t think it was because of her situation nor the fact that the rich walked past her as if she were a faint dot on the pavement, it was because despite all of this, she wasn’t alone. She had her best friend with her: a tatty little dog that quite resembled a teddy bear and it struck me that when everything goes dark and all the shopkeepers close for the night, when the air turns cold and the moon is beaming down upon her, that little dog would be her saviour. The one that keeps her warm against the wind, the one to defend her when shadows fall across the floor and the one who would be loyal until the very end, when hope and everything else has deserted her.
It was humbling. And, for the first time in my life, I was slightly envious of a vagabond. Her path was as clear as the night sky, she knew who she was and who she’d always be.
Blinking back the tears that threatened to roll down my cheek, I took a breath and smiled, as I watched the traffic lights turn from red to green.