Serendipity; that is what brought me close to this beautiful woman in the photo.
Those are the encounters that have the power to make me feel that inexplicable feeling that life is not a solo experience, as it is meant to be shared, intertwined and enriched by countless experiences from others.
If we allow ourselves or dare to talk to strangers, we will always add new nuances and richness to the little and restricted universe, which we call our lives. It is a give and take, where you end up giving a bit of your time to someone, who may have been just in need of a smile, friendly talk and attention, and for that, feels happier afterwards. In turn, you feel gratified for having meant something to someone, by giving so little. Above all, you feel gratitude for the person reminds you of your humanity and the need to stay humble and attentive to others’ reality.
I was in Porto, Portugal, for a day trip with my husband and friends, as we enjoyed vacations in northern Portugal. We had strolled up and downhill for the entire day, and as we headed to the parking garage, I spotted this lady, sitting in front of a door of ‘Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitoria’. She looked sad and distraught and yet very beautiful. She wore an elegant dress, impeccably matching with her ballerina shoes and a Burberry handbag.
She might have sat there to rest midway in that steep street, before resuming the journey to her destination. She might have been hopeless and solitary. I will never know. All I can say is that I stopped to chat with her and met instant openness to talk as well as experienced a remarkable change of expression on her face. She brightened her eyes and smiled all the time.
I could not leave without telling how beautiful she was, and without asking her permission to take her photo, and carry her image forever with me; to which she kindly agreed.
As you know, I enjoy to make portraits of the people I meet in the streets, and even more to make contact. I dream to come across more of these every time I am out and about. Some years ago I met a pianist and wrote about her, years later on my blog, in this post The Pianist’s Life Story, if you want to know what happened.
Back to my lady in Porto, I regret to have been in a hurry as our conversation and photos took place in fleeting moments, and when I realized that my husband and friends had continued walking downhill, and were nowhere to be seen in a distance (already used to my not infrequent stops for photographing). As we were running late to hit the highway and avoid heavy traffic, I left my lady without asking her name and where she lived. I have not forgotten to endlessly thank her for our talk and photos, though.
If you know her, please let me know. And for now, if you have photos and stories to share of similar experiences, let us know in the comments.
Serendipity also brought me to follow a WP course at the blogging university some years ago. There I got to know the bloggers, who to this day, are part of my active and steady bloggers’ community. Some became friends, some I met in person, and I will talk about that in another post shortly.
One of the bloggers from my community is my friend Terri at Second Wind Leisure Perspectives. In her own words, she is ‘a leisure educator (university adjunct faculty), self-published author, and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California’. Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is a blog about living a leisure lifestyle. In the hectic times we live in, her advice is worthy of gold, as we forget to take care of leisure and prioritise ‘doing’ too much and getting burn out.
She runs the weekly Sunday Still Challenge, and if you miss the weekly photo Challenge, go there to share your photos. I am also sharing some as she challenged us to bring pictures of something of 100 years of age. I am sure my lady is younger than that, but the city of Porto is not, and neither are these beautiful tile ‘azulejos’ standing time since the XII century, on the adorned walls of the Sao Bento railway station of the town. They date from 1905-1916, and its author is Jorge Colaço, a famous tile painter of the time.