by David Brauer
This morning in Barcelona was an historic occasion. My wife and I started walking toward the city center on Via Laietana, away from the Mediterranean and encountered one end of a demonstration for Catalonian independence starting just beyond Placa Antoni Maura. The demonstration, we would find out later, involved over 500,000 people. It seemed as if everyone was covered in a red and yellow striped flag with the blue triangle containing a single star. Although it was very exuberant, it was also very peaceful.
We decided to walk away from the demonstration and made our way to the Arc de Triomf. There we settled on a bench to watch other tourists strolling on the pathway as the sun played tag with us through the frawns of the date palms that lined the promenade. Along the edges of the walkway were vendors that had laid out tie-dyed sheets with their goods for sale smartly placed on them. Some were selling tennis shoes, while others sold sunglasses, refrigerator magnets adorned with sites of Barcelona, and other items that might appeal to the tourist trade. Buskers played instruments in various areas hoping to attract coins from passing tourists. Yet another man had many children gathered around him. He was making bubbles using two long sticks with strings attached to them that he dipped into a liquid. When he brought them out the wind would create bubbles that youngsters delighted in popping. Some of these bubbles were carried by a kind and gentle breeze away from the hands of the children and worked their way among the others on the promenade.
As I looked up from where I was sitting I could see one headed towards us and whether it was my imagination or just too much sun, I do not know, but I thought I heard a sound emanate from it. It sounded like the bubble said. “Hola, where did I come from? I remember being in a warm blue womb of glycerin and water when suddenly I was attached to a loop with hundreds of others and flung into space. Initially there were hundreds of us, all different shapes and sizes and colors. Some of them disappeared rapidly while others of us continued our march to the Arc de Triomf. We were encouraged on by a gentle breeze coming up from the Mediterranean. It was as if we were racing through the currents of life. Some of them were oblivious to the destination while others appear to have a purpose for their existence.”
“I can hear the sound of the green parrots as they argue amongst themselves in the date laden palm trees on this promenade. I see people pointing and staring at us. While they all smile as they gaze upon us some of the smaller people are poking at us. The breeze of my ambition carries me further ahead and as I look around I see fewer and fewer of my compatriots.”
“Suddenly I’m all alone. Where has the time gone? All of those that I was created with are gone also. Our existence seems so short, and yet I can look back and see all the distance that I covered. And then just as suddenly I am no more.”