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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Put more magic in your life!

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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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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The pensive princess in the park

One shot. That’s all you get.

Magic abounds in San Miguel de Allende.

But it can be fleeting.

An open door.

A loving embrace.

A child’s smile.

A musician’s final note.

You are there. You happen upon the moment.

And you either lock it in your memory or …

… god forgive me, you pull out your camera.

The princess sat in Parque Juarez, near the gazebo.

Her face went to that place that princesses so often go to

When men dressed all in black with lights and baffles and screens

Scurry around her, trying to capture the fading light at dusk.

Her eyes turn inward, her thoughts go to … where?

A mantra? A shopping list? A party invite? A lover?

A magic spell to cast over her portraiture minions?

A first glimpse of her is through the vee

In this ancient split-trunk pine.

She could have been a woodland fairie,

Queen of the forest,

Mistress of the mystical realm.

Mab, Titania, Oonagh, Gloriana, Diana

The Queen of Elphame.

Meliae or Dryad, those Greecian nymphs of ashes and oaks.

But, more, a beautiful woman with sadness about her

As she waited for that special moment.

To come alive,

To conjure enchantment, and send it to the lens.

Immortalizing the fairie princess in her sylvan realm.

Real. Not real.

Magical, all the same.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

A lesson from the butterfly’s second life

Butterflies are one of the “two sweetest passions known to man.”

So says Vladimir Nabokov. The other is literature.

A day watching butterflies flutter amid the flower boughs

Never feels misspent.

Nor does a day with a good book.

Literature lasts forever. No so, the butterfly.

Continue reading
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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

In the garden: A meditation

I have so many pictures of the flowers and plants that fill our courtyard that I want to share with you. This oasis. This sanctuary. This place where we find peace and solitude during the global crisis.

This home in Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Flowers speak for themselves. They don’t need words to make themselves more beautiful. Unless the words are contained in a song.

Flowers and songs work well togther.

And no song is better than Van Morrison’s “In the Garden.”

Continue reading
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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Little escapes: Seventeen San Miguel experiences you can enjoy while sitting on your couch

Since the beginning of the Covid sequestration, I’ve been taking the occasional walkabout here in San Miguel de Allende. I’ve even taken some that were inspired by my beloved city but strictly products of the mind.

Honestly, we’re all kind of feeling like we are at the “break out” point.

I hope this will help.

Below is a selection of the walks — real and fantasy — that I’ve enjoyed over the past few months.

Continue reading
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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

No rhyme, no reason, Part 2: Seeing things

Kind of like the world we live in today: Fractured, confusing, disorienting, distorted.
But there is hope. A way out. An opening in the distance — with a glimpse of promise on the other side. We just need to stay focused on that opening.
Continue reading
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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Crossword clue: ‘It might send you to the moon’ and your answer is …

In a crossword puzzle today:

“It might send you to the moon”

Horizontal. Four letters.

So obvious. I wrote in 

LOVE

+ + + + +

But LOVE is thwarted by insensitive vertical clues

That have nothing to do with love:

“Some shortcuts for ships” CANALS

“Body position in yoga” ASANA

“Great ___ National Park” BASIN

“Brand of figure-shaping underwear” SPANX

+ + + + +

For a flight to the moon,

The crossword’s answer

Is pretty pedestrian. (Especially after

Spanx and asana which, come to think of it,

May have something to do with love.)

Perhaps songwriters and poets should create

Our nation’s crossword puzzle clues.

+ + + + +

Love, of course, is all you need.

Love will send you to the moon.

But romantic metaphors, apparently,

Have no place in a Wednesday

New York Times Crossword Puzzle.

+ + + + +

Although, the clue for 57 down,

“Middle of many metaphors,”

Suggests somebody knows something

About figures of speech.

If not love.

+ + + + +

That answer, to 57 down, sadly,

Is not LOVE, either.

It is only three letters: ISA

Really, only two words, “IS A” 

+ + + + +

ISA, as in …

He is a car wreck waiting to happen.

Her love is a one-way trip to the moon.

He is a puddle of mush when she walks into the room.

Their love is a three-ring circus.

+ + + + +

ISA is an “ugh …”

(Also three letters, but not an answer.)

I don’t want and ugh. I want a hug.

I want better. I want more.

I want LOVE to send us to the moon.

Even in a Wednesday crossword puzzle.

+ + + + +

But if LOVE doesn’t, or can’t,

Send us to the moon

Because things get in the way, like,

Canals, yoga, tight underwear and national parks

What will?

+ + + + +

A very important question

These days:

What sends you to the moon?

What keeps you from taking a trip to the moon?

Use as many letters and metaphors as you wish.

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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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