Memoirs -- fact and fiction, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

These are a few of my favorite things, Part I: Salvaging love and beauty from 2020

Well, thank god that’s over. The year, I mean. 2020.

I’ve had just about enough of it and I suspect you have too. Not that 2021 will start off so terribly different. Well, there is the regime change, an inauguration, and the eradication of four years of shitty people running the country.

It will take time, lots of vaccinations, still more wine than we should be consuming, and a Democratic majority in Congress — up to you, Georgia.

Was 2020 really all that bad? Yes. Yes, it was.

It was so bad that when I sat down to make my photography calendar for 2021, I just couldn’t do it. Who wants to look back, month after month, on the good old days of 2020? I need only look at my 2020 calendar — jammed with photos from the previous year — and tabulate all the things that did not happen.

The main thing that did not happen? People.

Up until March, we hung out with friends, took group trips, enjoyed gatherings for meals and celebrations, made plans to visit family, bought airline tickets. We planned monthly trips, short ones to explore other parts of Mexico.

Next thing you know, we’re all trying to figure out Zoom, online shopping, face masks, and Facebook. I started photographing flowers and statues, murals and sunsets — instead of people and parades, street people and concerts, and food porn in crowded restaurants.

Has the pandemic made us better people? Some, maybe. A lot seem crazier than they did in 2016. Crazier and better armed.

The problem is, I can’t let 2020 go without doing something.

I did write a lot and I took a lot of photos in 2020. I’m going to sort though it all one more time and post some of it here. Maybe I’ll discover something about myself that I missed in the heat of the moment. Maybe you’ll find something to enjoy. I hope so.

Then we can all step back to the ledge and wait for 2021, knowing that nothing will change. Not yet, anyway. But change is coming and hopefully we won’t be going back to the old world we once knew. Hopefully we all learned something good, something precious, something about ourselves in our various levels of isolation, something that we can apply to the future.

Here’s to a new era in which we’re all a little smarter, more compassionate, thirstier for justice and equality, more open to listening, more curious about the lives of others, and willing to reduce our spending at Amazon by 50 percent because we didn’t need all that crap in the first place.

Read the sequel! These are a few of my favorite things, Part II

(Spoiler alert: Part II contains months July through December.)

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“The Divine Energy is listening to us when we speak to other people, but also when we are still and silent and able to accept solitude as a blessing.

“And when we achieve that harmony, we receive more than we asked for.”
―  Paulo Coelho, Manuscript Found in Accra

JANUARY

Stack ‘o’ hats.
Parades and processions. My god, we miss them.
Let’s not forget the real heroes of ever San Miguel parade.
One of the few attractions still available for all in San Miguel de Allende … pigeons. And other birds. Lots of other birds.
Things we miss, continued: musicians performing in the streets, like Aguascaliente here in Centro in an impromptu performance.

FEBRUARY

Neat little shop on the Ancha with contents that defy categorization.
Sometimes we look but do not see. I was focused on the sleeping boy and not his shoes.
All-women mariachi orchestra at the San Miguel Literary Festival. We miss the live writers conference, too.
Tourists and mariachis are an inseparable component of the San Miguel street scene.
The Parade of Mojigangas!
A flash mob materialized in Centro, dozens of women (including Rose Alcantara) in a choreographed protest against female violence. This is the grand finish. The child in the back? Our future. (I think many strong women were nurtured that day.)

MARCH

This was supposed to be ALL of 2020, short trips with friends to magical places around Mexico. The hot springs of Gruta Tolantongo was one of two that we managed before life shut down.
The “hot river” of Gruta Tolantongo.
St. James in Guanajuato, Mexico. (Photo grabbed at sunset from a car window, stuck in traffic.)
A park in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Our second, and last, road-trip was to the stunning monolith in Bernal.
From every angle, a stunning landscape in Bernal.
Last party before lock-down …
And it begins …. we hoped that hazmat-suited workers, spraying neighborhoods, was more than pandemic theater.

APRIL

Church in Colonia San Antonio is closed by the pandemic.
Bold message in a T-shirt shop on the Ancha.
For the rest of 2020, I collected rooftop dogs, like these.
Everything is changing, taking on different hues and textures. Emotions shift, the streets empty, people disappear.
We begin to notice things that were always there.

The almost empty museum of beautiful flowers and cobblestone streets

Grateful on the preternaturally calm Sunday morning, I ask myself, ‘Isn’t this just enough?’

MAY

A door like no other.
Quarantine Jesus.

Come, walk with me in the magical garden of earthly delights

JUNE

Rainy season turns hillside into a vernal wonderland.

Bonus: Parque Juarez: On the outside, looking in

Read the sequel! These are a few of my favorite things, Part II

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3 thoughts on “These are a few of my favorite things, Part I: Salvaging love and beauty from 2020

  1. bfdsds says:

    I love love love this!

    In many ways I am happier than I have been in my life…. and you captured the reasons for that.

    ‘Xxoo Susan

    On Fri, Jan 1, 2021 at 1:40 PM Musings, Magic, San Miguel and More wrote:

    > robertjhawkins1 posted: ” Well, thank god that’s over. The year, I mean. > 2020. I’ve had just about enough of it and I suspect you have too. Not that > 2021 will start off so terribly different. Well, there is the regime > change, an inauguration, and the eradication of four ye” >

    Like

  2. Pingback: These are a few of my favorite things, Part II: Finishing off 2020 with dignity and grace | Musings, Magic, San Miguel and More

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