I went on an excursion with a group of photographers today to take landscape photos. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous in the remote town in the mountains we went to visit. We’d been on a lot of nature walks lately so I decided to take a different approach. I took photos of the photographers in their element as we enjoyed the nature that surrounded us on such a beautiful sunny day. I decided to skip the hike and just stay in the tiny town and see if I could capture any images no one else was after.
They all walked by this white rustic house that had newspaper clippings posted on the wall by the front door. They commented that a former professional soccer player lived there. Many stopped to take close up photos of the wall as they continued down the old stone road that lead to cliffside views of the ocean in the distance.
Although I didn’t go on the hike, I did manage to get a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the scenery.
As luck would have it, the former soccer player startled me as I took a break in the shade near his front door. He noticed my reaction and apologized for scaring me. We started talking and engaged in a wonderful conversation in which he told me stories of his international travels thanks to his former profession. He fondly recalled his former life playing alongside great players such as Pelé. He told me of his favorite foods and beers in countries like Belgium, Sweeden, Argentina, and Brazil. I could tell he was happy to have someone to talk to. His face light up as he told his stories and jokes that evoked genuine laughter that can only come from having heard them for the first time.
He handed me a nectarine he grew as I accompanied him to feed the birds, something he does daily. He greeted hikers as they passed and said something in their native tongue when he picked up on their foreign accent. On our walk, he told me of his father who lived to be 103 and whose house still stands behind his own. He showed me a little shelter he built to enjoy a beer as he reads the newspaper on hot afternoons or enjoy a coffee and listen to the birds sing in the early morning. As he approached the containers he keeps stocked with bird feed, the birds quickly flocked to him and sang as they settled on the branches.
He touched my heart with his genuine smile and warm personality. He’s lively, funny, and humble. It’s clear he’s lived a full life and he’s very happy living a simple life these days in his rustic house in the mountains. It was a chance encounter that I’ll always remember. Such a friendly man with an interesting past I was able to get to know over the brief hour we spent together. A man I wouldn’t have otherwise met had I carried on with my group or had he ignored me and carried on about his business.