Around the corner from our house a tiny, charming coffee shop and B and B opened last week. It's a gift to the neighborhood since there is only one restaurant a few blocks away and others maybe a ten minute walk uphill, though there are many many more within fifteen minutes. This morning we decided to give our neighborhood coffee house a try. When we arrived at Casa Contenta the young woman making coffee and preparing breakfast baked goods was bent over one of the tables trying to balance a delicate baby hummingbird on the rim of a bowl filled with sugar water. The bird was unsteady on its feet and kept falling off, but the young woman worked slowly and patiently until the bird could stand on its own. The young server apologized for making us wait to take our order, but she wanted to make sure the bird was all right before she turned her attention away from it to take our order for one latte, one coffee Americano and a cinnamon role with house made honey.
As the young woman, who told us her name was Mercedes, disappeared into the kitchen to prepare our drinks and pastry, we could see the tiny heart of the bird beat rapidly and then suddenly the little body fell over onto the table. I wasn't surprised. What was the chance of rescuing such a fragile creature? I thought for sure the bird must be dead as it lay completely still and wondered how to break the news to the young woman when she returned to our table. It took a while to get our order ready, but when she came back carrying a lovely tray with our coffee and pastry, I said in Spanish, that I was sorry to report that the bird was dead. No, she said sweetly. "Está vivo. Mira." And sure enough, when she placed the creature gently back on the bowl's edge, a long tongue reached out for the nectar in the bowl. It was as though the baby came back to life just because the loving presence of Mercedes had returned.
The young woman was so kind and so caring, both with the bird and with us, that she seemed a perfect example of the character of the people in San Miguel de Allende. At stores, in restaurants, on the streets, kindness here dictates and every single life, no matter how small, matters.