The September Tourists
The two of them follow the golden leaf that skips lazily down the road,
Listening to the clamor of the crowd several blocks away.
Peering down the side street, they spy
A bus that has stopped there,
Groaning a bit as its human cargo spills out
Into an entryway once reserved for the devout brothers
Walking silently to prayer.
A place now resonating with dissonant voices and camera clicks.
The leaf flips over and over, swirling up with a little eddy of air,
Changing direction and leading them down the next narrow alley.
They eagerly pursue the leaf as it flees from the noise.
The street becomes darker and green under the canopy of trees
That form an archway between the buildings.
A flowery scent wafts past and they look up and see baskets of
fragrant blooms flowing over the wrought iron balconies above.
A lazy black cat sees the leaf and springs to life, catching it under her paw.
The tip of her tail twitches as she tries to eat it, but
Finding it distasteful, she shakes her head and saunters off down the next block.
Having lost their guide, the couple follows the cat instead,
And finds themselves in a tranquil square
Where a young man sits on a terrace, drinking his coffee,
And writing in a serious looking journal.
Two women sit at the next table, comparing notes
About this and that, keeping a close eye on the
little boy and the little girl scampering after a red ball
on the grass in the center of the square.
The calm scene is broken momentarily by the church bells ringing.
The women collect their bags and their children and walk purposefully
Down the street that the couple also walks down.
This church, though small, is masterfully built,
Even older than the large one nearby whose once quiet corridors are now filled
By so many tourists, eager to fill their already weary buses
With spangled tote bags, t-shirts, and plastic Marys.
The door of this smaller church is now open,
Inviting those brave enough to leave the groups with
The unmistakable sound of an organ.
The couple ventures reverently inside and sits down,
Just in time to enjoy the music while the organist practises for the mass.
A priest walks in and nods at them silently.
It is as if they have discovered their own private concert,
The music of Bach filling their souls and their senses.
When the music stops, they rise, and, leaving a few coins in the offering box,
They walk out into the sunny street
Where the residents of the neighborhood are emerging,
Chatting softly to one another as small groups of them
begin to gather at the various cafés in the square
because it is time for lunch.
I have added a new page to my site, which I intend to fill with experiences such as this. Click on the “September Tourist” link at the top of the site for an introduction to this page! I will be adding posts to it very soon! Merci beaucoup !