Camino: Porto to Santiago, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende

Birds on a wire

IMG_8706

The view from my terrace this evening, Doves on the wire in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. November 2019.

Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in some old midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

— Leonard Cohen – “Bird on the Wire,” 1979

What can possibly be more free than birds on a wire?

They come. They go. They gather. They fly off on a whim.

Doves gather and coo sweet nothings in each others’ ears.

But mostly they sit silently,  thinking thoughts beyond our reach and ken.

They enjoy the buzzy thrum of power surging beneath their feet.

They face forward, into the weather, keeping feathers unruffled.

Much as we wish we could go through life.

IMG_5611

Blackbirds watch the world whiz by from a safe perch in Porto, Portugal. October 2019.

The next best thing to birds on a wire?

Birds on a rail.

Eleven blackbirds all in a row.

What a conversation up there!

Blackbirds tell each other the most inappropriate jokes. They make fun of the tourists passing below.

They insult each other and slap each other on the back before flying off in search of a beer.

Separately.

IMG_6399 (1)

Illusions. Tui, Spain. October 2019.

We walk past buildings and see loose wires, draped across the front.

“An unsightly mess,” we think. Then we walk on.

Into the unsightly mess that is our lives.

The rare soul sees art, or the opportunity for art.

Even rarer is the one who commits the act of art.

Enabling the rest of us, who have passed the same wire for untold ages,

to smile, to chuckle, to enjoy the whimsy of an artistic soul/warrior.

Commit art where and when you can.

Be like Leonard Cohen.

Express yourself.

Let the rest of the world figure it out.

Advertisements
Standard
San Miguel de Allende

What else would you do after having your face painted but mount horses and ride into the sunset?

IMG_8644 (1)Our downstairs neighbor Jimmy Hickey painted Rose and Caira for Dia de Muertos on Saturday (last day of a three-day observance.)

Jimmy favors the more-colorful “sugar skull” Catrina look, rather than the scarier black-and-white skulls. I think it works with these two!

We’re blessed to have such creative neighbors! Jimmy and his wife, Gina Bradley, both worked in the animation industry. He was an artist and she was a production manager, most recently called out of retirement by Disney to work on “Frozen II.” Jimmy worked for Hanna-Barbera, Pixar and a lot of freelance animation. Continue reading

Standard
San Miguel de Allende

Miss Rose weighs in with photos from last night’s Dia de Muertos parade in San Miguel

IMG_0446A lot of people don’t know this but Rose Alcantara is a shy person. You wouldn’t think it if you ever took one of her pilates or yoga classes.

But that shyness extends to her photography, too.

Whereas I take lots of pictures and post them willy-nilly to the blog, my wife sits down with her iPhone and hits delete, delete, delete, delete, delete. Continue reading

Standard
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

Standard
San Miguel de Allende

Faces in the crowd – and a guy with a duck – in San Miguel de Allende on Dia de Muertos

Walking around San Miguel de Allende — or probably most anywhere in Mexico — is a bit surreal today.  And magical. And joyful. And curious. And beautiful. And heartwarming.

¡Feliz Dia de Muertos!

Catrinas and Catrines are everywhere. Not in the eye-popping costuming they’ll wear tonight as they parade about town. No, this afternoon the town was filled with skeletons walking around in shorts and t-shirts, school uniforms — you know extraordinary faces in ordinary clothes. Continue reading

Standard
San Miguel de Allende

Catrinas and Catrines are coming to life in San Miguel de Allende — for Halloween!

IMG_8219Day of the Dead is ramping up in San Miguel de Allende.

Some stores are draping their entrances in beautiful floral designs. Marigolds are everywhere. Altars to loved ones who have passed away are being erected in household doorways, on staircases, and in the cemeteries and parks.

And, of course, the Catrinas and Catrines are beginning to come alive.

Last week, the only Catrinas in town were in store windows and displays — and they are beautiful. Now, their walking and talking embodiments are hitting the streets!

At least, the face painting is going on all over San Miguel — especially in Centro where outdoor art studios are set up in the streets and scores of people are waiting their turn for the magical transformation to take place.

Here are a few pictures from this afternoon in Centro! Continue reading

Standard
Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

My mythical past

fam-tree

A friend came over to dinner the other night and we subsequently discovered that her mother’s family and I share the same last name: Hawkins.

It happens.

I also share the same last name with a number of terrific athletes, musicians, and celebrities going back to the great basketball player Connie Hawkins.

In fact, if you go to Ranker.com, there is a list called “Famous People With the Last Name Hawkins.”

I am not on it. Continue reading

Standard