If there is a constant to my time in Spain, it would be the presence of donkeys.
It’s so much a stereotype that it’s laughable, but there it is. The lowly burro is as much a part of Andalusia as the green and white, the Cruzcampo, and the siesta. As I write this, one is braying on the other side of my backyard fence. The first roundabout when you enter my town is officially called El Pozo de Romeria, but we all just call it “The Donkey Circle,” being that it’s a statue of a donkey at a well.
Yesterday, we were playing Donkey Polo, which is as tonto as it gets. A group of Americans, astride donkeys, waving brooms at a cheap plastic beach ball. Complete nonsense, with a bit of asshattery in the mix. But good fun.
At one point, one donkey, in mid-play, decided to lay down. lt was done, and no amount of beating or cooing or bribery would tell it otherwise. “Stubborn as a mule” comes from a real place.
Writers look for connection, and so I shall proceed. I admire that donkey for its honesty. It was tired, and it decided to rest. How often I plod along, irritable and drained, instead of sitting.
And a beautiful thing? My friend, who was riding the donkey as it decided to stop, also paused. He patted the donkey, led it to grass, massaged its neck. He shooed away the children, and gave the beast a moment to shake its mane, to rest, to soak in a bit of the sunshine.
He recognized a need, and met it. As should we all, when we put down our phones and look each other in the eyes.
Honestly, we can learn a lot from donkeys. They are pretty asstastic.