I worked nights in Brazil, photographing stars. Coming home one morning, I found the neighbor kids gathered around the curb. All year, a trickle of water ran beside it, starting from a neighbor’s farm and moving down through the prosperous community below, eventually draining into the Rio Potengi.
“What’s up?”, I asked.
“Fish!” they answered.
They were on their knees, giggling, hands in mud and water. I walked over, expecting floating toys of sticks and leaves, but saw little flashes of color. A child’s cupped hands held a small, brightly hued fish darting in a bit of water.
I knelt beside the rivulet and saw hundreds of tiny finned creatures slipping through fingers of little people delighted by their beauty.
I lived a few degrees from the Equator. These were tropical fish, the real thing. They weren’t in an aquarium in a doctor’s office. They lived free in their home, my gutter.