“Have I tumbled out of reality or into it?” — Robert Cooksey, on Facebook.
Great question, Bob.
I think I know where he is coming from. My friend Bob lives here in San Miguel de Allende. Like him, I can not believe our good fortune to be living in such a place.
The flip side of that expression of gratitude is that we’ve both very happy to no longer be living in the United States. (I speak for Bob — up to a point — because he is so outspoken on Facebook about his dismay over the direction the country has taken since, oh, since November 2016 at least.)
But now I’m getting off-topic.
Well, OK, I’m going to say it: This is a magical city.
Living in San Miguel, you sometimes find yourself pulling back and wondering if this can all be real. There is an odd resistance an unwillingness to accept this as reality.
I say this often: Every time I step out my front door, I fully expect something miraculous to happen. It needn’t be a Jesus-size miracle. Even the smallest miracles count.
- Like a father who stoops to pick up a golden orange flower fallen from a tree — and hands it to the young daughter he is walking to school.
- Or the elderly abuela, bent and bundled in her shawl and leaning upon a walking stick, who looks up and beams into your face, “Buenas dias!”
- Or the tunnel you walk into that turns out to be a dead-end — but there you find the remnants of an ancient chapel and a most beautiful stone statue. Nothing is lost but time, while the heart leaps with joy.
- Or you glance down to find a tiny china teacup wedged between the cobblestones –and the story of fairies fleeing before avaricious developers explodes into your consciousness.
- Or you step out the door in the morning and a brilliant sunrise greets you to the left and two hot air balloons float in the sky to the right.
- Perhaps you find a fascinating mural on a wall that you never noticed before.
- Perhaps it is an unexpected and breathtaking view down a steep and narrow cobblestone road to the Parroquia de San Miguel.
- Maybe an opera singer performs on a street corner or a mariachi band in the park.
- You can turn a corner and walk smack into the middle of a parade that is surreal, a dancing display of phantasmagoria.
You get the idea. And, in fact, each of these things happened to me recently, most in the past few days.
And sure, these things happen in places all over the world. I can only hope they are happening where ever you are.
In fact, I’m certain that they are.
Just open your heart to the prospect and the rest of you will follow. It is amazing what you will see! You will find yourself thinking “Have I tumbled out of reality or into it?”
There is no more magic here in San Miguel than elsewhere. Perhaps it is just that this place affords us the time, temperament, and encouragement to experience it.
At the entrance to a charming little alley here in San Miguel is a quote from W.B. Yeats painted on the wall:
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
Try it. Encourage your senses to grow sharper.
Before you step out your front door tomorrow, tell yourself that you are going to encounter something magical. Keep an open mind and an open heart. Sometimes the smallest miracles are the most precious. Wrap your intention in a warm sense of gratitude for who you are and where you are.
That is your reality.
If I may, I’d just like to share some more images from the past few days which I found magical.
I love this doorway. It is surrounded by color and textures and I can’t imagine where it leads to. The ceramic tile surrounding it reminds me of the azulejos walls I have seen in pictures from Portugal:
I have walked by this passageway so many times and wondered where it leads to. The other day I found out. It is a dead-end. But what a dead-end! This has to be one of my favorite statues and settings in all of San Miguel:
Imagine you are walking up a road and you glance at the pretty flower that you just brushed with your hand. “Oh, there’s a fly inside the flower … oh, the flower is EATING the fly!” I assume the closed ones are digesting a full meal:
Then there is the Tuesday Market where you can find just about anything, including a million pairs of shoes, Mexican jumping beans, impossibly colorful lilies(?), and more beans — lots and lots of beans:
Sometimes a gate opens, one you’ve never seen open before, and you become the uninvited guest at a private showing of hidden statuary. San Miguel has lots and lots of statues, much of it hidden behind very ordinary doors:
Sometimes the art is just hanging out over your head and you just have to look up once in a while to notice it:
And finally, there was this elderly man with his walking stick, moving slowly across the scruffy field and into the early morning mist. I wondered how often he took this path. Does he still see magic? I hope so: