Past Aznalcázar, Spain – May 22, 2017
The first town wakes up as I arrive. People move in the streets, a bit slowly, and the grocery store’s bread is still hot from the oven. Most of the shops haven’t opened yet and the streets feel only half full.
I reach the second town as the mid-day heat arrives. Groups of old men sit on park benches, but only in the shade. They finger canes and shout out greetings to passersby. A few join them, others trickle away. The streets are busy, awake now, and people move in the thick of their morning routines.
The third town is asleep when I arrive. Silence fills the still air. No one moves. I walk abandoned streets and only see a few people peering at me from the shadows of cafes and houses. I feel almost alone on the earth while the world sleeps away the heat.
The fourth town moves with life. The heat has faded. Kids play in parks. Couples stroll sidewalks. Voices and cars fill the air. People crowd the grocery store to buy what they need for dinner. Up and down the sidewalk, the town moves with it’s business.
I pass the fifth town just before sunset. It’s quieter. People have settled on benches or returned to their houses. The air is cool again. The day feels complete. I see it on passing faces, the contentment of a day’s end.
“It’s time to rest,” their smiles say.
I catch my reflection in a window and see the same smile.