Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 18: Magic mushrooms, John Malkovich, a Pulitzer Prize podcast, a crossword blitz, and fresh-baked cookies

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Pulitzer Podcast:  Last week, the radio program/podcast “This American Life” won a Pulitzer Prize. It is the first-ever awarded to a radio program. The honored program, called “The Out Crowd” is steeped on original reporting, boots on the ground, at the U.S. Mexican border. It first aired in November 2019 and is rebroadcast now with critical updates.

Most dispiriting update of all — the atrocities first reported here are largely going on unchanged and unchecked. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

In the absence of art and pageantry by agile minds and clever hands, Nature fills the void

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Looking down Calle Correro from the intersection with Barranca toward the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel on a very quiet Sunday morning.

We don’t do fireworks in San Miguel de Allende any more.

The hot-air balloons drifting slowly over the city at dawn are gone.

Parades and processions are put on hold.

Concerts under the trees have been muted. Continue reading

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

Sequestration meditation: Walk among the trees, with the thoughts of Hermann Hesse

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Text by Hermann Hesse: “Trees,” from “Wandering: Notes and Sketches”
Photographs by Robert J. Hawkins

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves.

IMG_1628 And even more, I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs, the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. Continue reading

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

Come, walk with me, through the magical door and into the garden of stone angels

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Let’s enter the garden through this secret passageway.  You can only see it when you truly need to escape from the world to a place where you can be safe and relax while time around you stands still. The real magic is this: The more you need to get away, the easier it is to open this door. Right now it seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? That’s good. It means you are doing just fine.

You can’t call it a back yard. When I think of a back yard, I think of a decent swath of green grass — enough for a few kids to at least play catch or toss a football — and maybe a garden.

No, it has none of that. But it is quite beautiful. If you were to look for a retreat, a place to hang out for a day and just sit and think, this would suit you well.

Not quite a back yard but bigger than a typical patio. Not a piazza, but maybe a courtyard (If you don’t immediately think of a Motel 6 courtyard).  A courtyard that feels like an atrium. That will do. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 22, I’m back and I’ve got this headful of stuff I need to tell you …

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Miss me? These days you can’t say “I am sick” without sending tremors through the universe. But now I can say, “I was sick, for a couple of days.” Whatever the symptoms, they did not add up to COVID 19.

I was just sick. And now I’m better and life goes on and gratitude pours in to fill the void.

As many of you know, when you are sick, you basically do nothing. So, since I sense you don’t want unnecessary detail on nose-blowing and sneezing, let’s say I did nothing of note (“Honk!” … sorry) on Monday and Tuesday.

But here’s today’s ANNOTATED LOG!: Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Shadowboxing and other enchanting things that catch the eye in San Miguel de Allende

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It is no revelation that San Miguel de Allende is awash in beauty. A photographer’s playground, a selfie’s sandbox, a dilettante’s garden of earthly delights.

Like shooting into a herd of buffalo. Aim your camera in any direction and you will hit the mark, as often as not.

How many people arrive in San Miguel and launch into the uber project — snapping photos of every attractive doorway, every brass knocker, with the objective of creating the perfect coffeetable book?

I did. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Sending a photo through artsy filters unearths emotions missed in the original — but is it art?

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This is what you get when you step out your front door around 7 a.m. in San Miguel de Allende. Not every day but when it happens you whisper a little prayer of thanks to the photography gods. (Then curse the limitations of your sad and old iPhone.) But taking the photo is just the beginning of what you can do.

I am not a photographer. I am a guy with a used iPhone who takes pictures.

I emphasize “used” because the newest phones seem to be veering awfully close to mimicking the abilities of a decent camera.

Mine is not in that class.

Even if I had a new phone with the latest camera technology, or even if I owned a halfway decent camera, I would never call myself a photographer. Continue reading

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