Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Hedrick Smith to i3 audience: U.S. political reform can happen but it is up to YOU, not somebody else

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Hedrick Smith speaks to a full house on “Reforming our ailing political system.”

Is there anything better than Nancy Pelosi tearing up the text of President Trump’s State of the Union speech as he basked in the golden shower of applause from Republicans on Tuesday night?

At the moment, no.

But Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith brought some good news to San Miguel de Allende on Tuesday night: All is not lost.

In a brief speech and documentary presentation titled “Reforming our Ailing Political System,” Smith said to look to the hinterlands, to the grassroots, at the state level,  to see where real reform is going on.

And after three years of crisscrossing the United States, Smith reports that a real revolution is going on  — and it is transcending political parties and racial and economic divides. And it is being overlooked by most of America’s major media outlets. Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende

Hundreds of riders pass through Centro en route to honoring St. Martin

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Riders paused in front of the Parroquia for prayers, selfies, regrouping, and socializing before riding out of town.

Hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls have come to town for the blessings of the church on riders and their mounts on Friday, Nov. 8 around 5 p.m. More riders may gallop through Centro on Saturday.

They are celebrating the feast of St. Martin, patron saint of horse riders. Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel’s Dia de Muertos parade: Promenade of Catrinas and Catrines

IMG_8530They came pouring down Calle Nemesio Diez from the direction of the tony Rosewood Hotel. Skeletal faces,  gloriously made up and draped in period-piece finery.

These were the traditional — and many untraditional — Catrinas and Catrines of Dia de Muertos.

They walked slowly, awkwardly — the effect being of spirits who’d just crossed over the void and had not yet accustomed their spindly bone legs to cobblestone streets. Continue reading

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

A giddy collision of excesses, Santiago is no haven for reflection — that’s what the Camino was about

 

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Of all the incredible, awe-inspiring art and architecture in Santiago, this sculpture spoke loudest to me. It is a powerful reflection of how our soggy feet felt at this moment. The translation is something like “Walk straight, walk upright,” as if we need that advice now.

A Coruña to Santiago de Compostela (7 km — felt wet and like it would take forever but, suddenly, it is over)

We have reached the end of our journey. We have arrived in Santiago de Compostela after walking more than 150 miles over 13 days through Portugal and Spain.

Words fail me.

No they don’t. Just kidding.  Continue reading

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

Nothing to do for two hours except lie in the grass and let the mind drift with the clouds

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This is me, as we wait for our auberge to open at the end of a lovely day hiking from Padron. Two hours of absolutely nothing. I kept track of the cloud formations and listened to my clothes dry in the warm sun.

img_7090Padron to A Coruña (20 km, felt like a constant climb)

I’m flat on my back. I can’t move.

Or, maybe I don’t want to move.

My boots are off. Yes, my boots are off. I can see the tips of my socks. I can smell them. So, I must have taken my boots off. Yes? That is a specific act. Not an accident.

My backpack is not where it is most often during the day: on my back. So, that too, is a clue. Continue reading

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

Walking the Camino with Whitman, seeking the poet’s path between reality and the soul

img_6927-1The land and sea, the animals, fishes, and birds, the sky of heaven and the orbs, the forests, mountains, and rivers, are not small themes … but folks expect of the poet to indicate more than the beauty and dignity which always attach to dumb real objects … they expect him to indicate the path between reality and their souls.

— From Walt Whitman’s original introduction to “Leaves of Grass” 

Today is the day I found the path between reality and the soul.

To say that the path we walked was simply the most beautiful in all of the Portuguese Camino is difficult. There have been many remarkable sights. None, however, affected me quite like this one. Continue reading

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

Slow down, walk in mindfulness, and the Camino’s hidden beauty is revealed

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An element of a plaza water fountain in Pontevedra, in which the shape of the spouting water is constantly changing to some hidden rhythm. The statue of the little boy always seems to get his mouthful, however.

Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis (22.2 kilometers, felt like 22.2 except for a very flat stretch of open and empty road after the sun came out)

We awake to a different Pontevedra this morning. Last night, we walked through gray granite and stone canyons, brightened only by the logos and signage of commerce and colorful storefront pitches for their wares, and the occasional art installation. And graffiti, ambitious graffiti murals in fluorescent colors.

But otherwise, a gray city fostering teeming waves of pedestrian life along traffic-free streets. 

Now, in the morning gloom, the rain and the streetlamps have washed everything with a shimmering amber sheen. A neon art project sings like an aria to the skies above. The pulsing cherry-sherbert lighting on a plaza fountain vibrates with a force unfelt in daytime. Continue reading

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