Note No. 16

June 19, 2009

“That’s a little disturbing.” I am frowning at the city employee in a green jump suit as liquid gushes from the huge hose in his hands that he is emptying out on the pavement just behind me, where my mom and I have been enjoying our first meal on a terrace in the center of the city.

I seem to have forgotten where I am. This is not Mexico; this is Spain— Catalunya, to be politically exact, and he was not emptying sewage onto the street. I realize this as soon as he has gone and there is a purposeful puddle in his wake. “He watered that tree.”

My mom looks around. “But only certain trees get special treatment.”
I see another one several paces away, a small lake also soaking into the square trough of dirt at its roots. “That one is the same size as this one.”

The two saplings had apparently been planted at the same time and now, at about 15 feet tall and in the shadows of the towering trunks around them, they are still on the nurturing plan, thus the reason a parks and gardens employee would be out at nearly 11 o’ clock at night, giving them the ingredients they need to keep growing.

“That’s so sweet.”

“Are you going to finish that potato?”

We both turn our heads from gazing in silence at the sycamore as a girl snaps us out of our fairy tale stupor.

“Yes.”

I have answered indignantly, not even sure if my mom wants that last wedge on her plate, and as we watch her and her companion walk away in their baggy rags, reminding me how common it is here to have someone my age begging for food right off the plates of alfresco diners, two dogs draw our attention back to the tree, where they are playing in the water before bounding after the couple, water splashing on my leg as they run past us.

“And they have two dogs.”

All I can think, though, is how glad I am for where that water came from.

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