A pandemic of new murals all over San Miguel de Allende, many with iconic images from pop culture and high art, carry a simple message: Put on a mask.
If Frida, Vincent van Gogh, Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” Klimt’s stylish “Lady in Gold,” and da Vinci’s mysterious “Mona Lisa” and her Botero-esque alter-ego can put on masks — and look fabulous — so can we.
That’s the hope, anyway, of the city’s Directorate for Culture and Tradition which has sponsored the creation of the 10 murals.
This is how things work in magical San Miguel de Allende:
Susan Campbell Skinner lives on the corner of Refugio and Orizaba in Colonia San Antonio. Across the street is Dona Rosa’s tienda where she buys organic eggs, produce, and fresh squeezed orange juice.
Susan does not know Rosa well but she feels a kindred spirit. She feels like Rosa is always looking out for her and her casa when she is away. This is what neighbors do for each other here in San Miguel de Allende.
So, Susan wanted to do something nice for her neighbor.
I’d like you to meet Wally, full name Wallace George Hawkins. He was born on Saturday at 6:54 p.m. in Kaiser Hospital, San Diego, weighing in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces.
Mother, Larisa, and father, Ryan, are as over the moon — as we are!
Wally and parents were home by Sunday evening and Wally got to meet his big brother, Augie.
Ryan is my second-oldest son, born between Brendan and Christopher. Wally joins three grandsons — Brody (Brendan and Cami), Tallac (Chris and Katie), and of course big brother, Augie (pictured above).
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As one of eight brothers and one sister, to me the production of sons and grandsons seems a foregone conclusion although some of my brothers and their wives, somehow, have brought daughters into this world.
There is nothing like a new-born baby to remind you of how unique, amazing and beautiful is every child. This has to be my all-time favorite miracle available on this planet.
Rose Alcantara and I are so filled with joy.
Rose right away suggested sending flowers and naturally found just the right bouquet on Amazon. I think they are arriving today (Tuesday). Say what you will, this is an amazing world.
I bought a second gift for the family — a non-contact, infrared, instant-read thermometer — bundled with 50 disposable face masks. Just seems like a gift for these days, especially with the inevitable number of visitors they will likely get.
Now comes the tricky part: how to schedule a visit to meet Wally in person in this wild and crazy Covid world. I’m looking forward to crossing at Tijuana and isolating for two weeks in San Diego before Wally and I get to hang out.
It makes sense, too, once “certified” COVID-free, to drive to Northern California to visit with Brody and Tallac and their parents while already in the States.
Not the family reunion we were all talking about at the beginning of the year but this is love and joy and family in the new reality.
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.”
Pocket-sized transistor radios were probably one of the first great subversive technologies. And smuggling one into a culturally hermetic community could spark a revolution.
That’s what happened when rock ‘n’ roll invaded the cloistered walls of my seminary.
As an eighth-grader I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. Two years later I realized that he had dialed a wrong number and I had, regrettably, answered.
I went all in: a missionary order whose Latin name translated to Society of the Divine Word (SVD). The order had a very gothic looking building about 20 miles south of Erie, Pa., where they educated their high school recruits.
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.