I watched her that day – a warm day in Madrid. Too warm for a jacket, yet she sat there layered in her clothing – her world – with everything that she owned upon her back.

She didn’t notice me. I kept my distance, buffered by language and culture. Worlds apart. Yet our spirits touched.

I wasn’t used to her or the power that radiated from her like the graffiti that surrounded her, a halo of light and color, like a Renaissance painting come to life.

She never asked for money. She refused to beg. She just watched the street vendors as they went about their daily business; and every so often she would smile when she saw a child.

What dignity, I thought, as I stood there with a wallet full of money; as life passed me by because I was too busy to stop and look. I snapped her picture, unnoticed, and felt small in the world that surrounded her.

What dignity in that soul – what beauty!

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