Along the northern shore of the Douro River in Porto, Portugal, a walkway divides. The lower walkway follows the river’s shoreline and leads to cafe and store fronts. The upper walkway leads to the second stories of the waterfront businesses and residences, providing a bird’s eye view of the busy riverfront below.
Walking along the riverfront with my camera in hand, I spotted a a purple-chested pigeon perched on the upper walkway’s wall. I moved toward the beautifully breasted bird. Cautiously, I positioned my camera, hoping the pigeon wouldn’t fly away at the sound of my camera’s shutter. Click. Closer. Click. The pigeon stayed in its place, giving me an occasional look, but allowing me to take its photo. Again and again.
Thrilled with how the pigeon had seemingly trusted my presence, I continued down the walkway, leaving the bird safely on its wall. Preparing to take a photo of the setting sun above the river, I was distracted by movement in my peripheral vision.
From behind a sun-drenched, private doorway, a Portuguese woman appeared.
We looked at each other.
I smiled and tapped my camera.
I pointed toward her and nodded.
and then she gave me these…
In these two back-to-back moments above the Douro River, I received bird’s eye views of a life lesson:
Mutual respect is a universal language.