Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Howl’s Moving Castle it isn’t

Tried a CBD oil concoction for enabling sleep last night, then I ended up on the roof, mesmerized by the lighting around Parroquia San Antonio de Padua. I couldn’t stop staring at it, so I took this photograph.

The church is about a block away. When celebrations call for fireworks, as they often do, this is a great rooftop patio on which to be.

If the church looks other-worldly, it may be because my head was in an other-worldly place.

My sleep didn’t improve. Not yet anyway.

Though my dreams were weirder than normal, which, if you know my dreams, is saying a lot.

We’ll see what tonight brings.

Or doesn’t bring.

Meanwhile, sleep well. Embrace the new day. Do good works. Think kindly of others. Embrace second chances. Never shirk from responsibilities. Choose the right outfit for the occasion. Never take the last of the yogurt, even the store-bought kind. Don’t second-guess motivations in people who seem meaner than you. Smile and make eye contact with everyone. Frequent more than one bakery. When you tip someone, surprise yourself and go big. Try to remember the name of at least one person you meet this week.

Now, say good night.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

For 2023, I wish you a thousand little milagros

This cross sits to the right of my desk, on an empty chair. It is one of many crosses that we have inherited. Our home in San Miguel de Allende comes with crosses, cow skulls, pottery and milagros pegged to doors here and there.

Milagros are those little tin objects you see on the cross that look as though they might be Monopoly board pieces.

While I have always been aware of the cross — lord knows I’ve moved it around often enough — I never really paid close attention to it.

Until this morning.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Humbling exercise in devotion, just a step beyond the front door — Our Lady of Guadalupe has her day

I’ve said it before: You want magic in San Miguel de Allende? Then just step out your front door.

Today, it was the arrival of the procession honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe. The cavalcade of the holy and horses turned onto Callejon San Antonio at noon sharp and proceeded to walk in stops and starts toward the Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua.

Progress was halting because there were hundreds of people attempting to fill the already busy square for the celebration of the Mass.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Behind closed doors: Oh, what a relief it is!

It is popular and entirely appropriate in San Miguel de Allende to say “You never know what’s behind a closed door.”

Entrances on San Miguel streets give you no hint at all as to what lies behind them.

The most humble of doors can open onto a garden of Eden, a fairyland, a small village, a rabbit warren of homes, a vast and empty park, a stately hacienda, ancient ruins, a private town square surrounded by stately homes, ageless and towering trees, private roads – well, whatever imagination and money can conjure.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

Flowers. Just flowers — but from San Miguel de Allende, Cape Cod, and Newport

In San Miguel de Allende, we call this the rainy season.

Many days, the clouds will roll in during the afternoon and by 5 p.m. or so, there will be rain, thunder, and lightning.

It is happening right now as I write about it. A little early in the day, 1:30 p.m. but nobody ever complains about the rain.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

Clouds. Just clouds.

Sometimes, you just have to go with the material that is right in front of you.

Today, it is nothing more than clouds.

Just clouds.

“You should see the clouds,” Rose calls out to me. I am in my favorite chair, in a cool dark room, battling ignorance and mean people on Twitter. “They’re really beautiful.”

She is right. Rose knows her clouds.

Big beautiful fluffy, floating, languid, lazily hithering and dithering clouds.

Not “looks like rain” clouds. Not trouble-ahead clouds. Not massive gray-dark sheets of roiling angry wetness.

Just legions of marshmallow clouds floating over San Miguel de Allende on a summer’s afternoon.

The kind of clouds in which you can see famous faces, clowns, ghouls, horses, funny dogs, dragons, elephants, and cars.

The kind of clouds for which soft fields of grass were created, so you could lie on your back and see famous faces, clowns, ghouls, horses, funny dogs, dragons, elephants, and cars.

The kind of clouds that inspired Joni Mitchell to write “Both Sides Now.”

The kind of clouds that John Constable painted in sprawling vistas like “The Hay Wain” and “Wivenhoe Park.”

Where would poets be without clouds? Looking at you, Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Maybe they are the same clouds, just recycled two centuries later?

Still hanging around, but posing now for iPhones.

Or, the kind of clouds under which young people fall in love and old people fall into reminiscing.

The kind of clouds for which the word “chiaroscuro” was invented.

Nobody can say that, back in the day, they had better clouds than these.

I’ve seen the evidence.

The best clouds ever — and always — are the ones that capture your imagination for a moment, just before morphing into whispy cotton candy swirls.

Timing is everything with clouds.

Pull your head up out of your cell phone, your busy works, your depression, your self-obsession, your shoe gazing — and look up.

Don’t let a day go by without observing the clouds, no matter how many or how few.

Don’t compare them to clouds past. That is not why they are here.

This is no cloud fashion show.

Clouds appear because they are trying to tell us something.

Seek out their shapeshifting secrets.

Learn their names, understand their reasons.

Follow the shadows they cast upon the ground.

You won’t find a pot of gold.

Maybe something better.

Love?

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

In the Garden


And I turned to you and I said No guru, no method, no teacher

Just you and I and nature And the father in the garden

–VAN MORRISON, “IN THE GARDEN”


So I sit here in the garden, in the early summer light

A cup of coffee grows cold beside me

In the stillness that morning brings, fleeting stillness

The workers next door have not yet stirred to break the silence

With their hammers and saws and boisterous shouts.

There is still room for the birds in the dense green

To sing their songs, perform their magic,

Find love among the branches.

I don’t know the geography of this garden by name,

Only by the heart, defined by what my eyes take in:

The delicate flowers, the flirty birds, the twisty vines,

The shaded coolness of the branches. So many voices

of green, vying for my attention. I know

Only that it is too beautiful for me to rise and exert my will

Where it is unwanted, unasked for, upon another day.

An empty bag awaits upstairs with a ticket to somewhere far

And I only know I don’t want to leave the garden.

I want to sit here in the peace, in the coolness,

Listening to the plants breathing ever so lightly

Parsing out their secrets ever so lightly

Unlocking a state of grace ever so lightly,

Grace I can not achieve no matter how hard I try.

Outside, mothers and fathers walk their children

Hand in hand to school as church bells chime,

A touch of grace all its own.

I see their shadows pass on frosted windows,

And I sit and listen to the plants.

And listen to the birds.

And listen to the silence.

And my coffee grows cold for I dare not move

I can not move,

I don’t want to move.

I want only to become one

With the stillness.

In the garden.

While there is still time.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

Crazies galore: Watching half the Locos parade … until the very end

That’s true. I only saw half the Crazies parade this morning in San Miguel de Allende.

The upper half.

Even at 6-foot-2 I wasn’t tall enough, or close enough to watch the Dia de Los Locos parade with such an unobstructed view. Man, there were a lot of people out there, and they got to the curb long before I did. What’s fair is fair.

Therefore, you may notice that many of my photographs are filtered through a variety of hairstyles, various hats, the occasional waving hands and fingers, hands holding iPhones in front of my iPhone, and the odd umbrella.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Update, Saturday night fever: The drums beat, the tribes dance, the final procession to Parroquia de San Antonio is a stunner

I thought the day began at 5:30 a.m. with a massively loud fusillade of fireworks from the Parroquia de San Antonio grounds, about a block away from my home in Colonia San Antonio. That’s what sent me upright in my bed and nearly over the side.

The explosions kept up every 10 minutes or so for the next couple of hours.

My friend Bob Cooksey, who lives directly across the street from the church, says the celebration began an hour earlier with a 30-piece marching band heading out from the church grounds and down the street in front of his home.

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