While globe-trotting photographer Alison Wright billed herself as “the warm-up band for Sam Donaldson” and begged the audience not to boo her off stage with shouts of “Sam! Sam! Sam!,” the retired ABC newsman had a whole other take on the evening.
Wright and Donaldson were co-headliners before a packed Literary Society house in the HRM Ballroom in San Miguel de Allende on Wednesday, Jan. 29.
When Donaldson stood up to speak, he was clearly awed by the sometimes harrowing tales and stunning photographs presented by Wright, a featured National Geographic photographer.
“I’ve always believed that you don’t follow dogs or children onstage,” intoned Donaldson, “to which I’ll add, ‘Don’t follow Alison Wright!’ “ Continue reading
I started the day by rescuing a hummingbird
That had been locked in the atrium all night
And was exhausted from beating
Its wings and head
Against the glass.
It rejected my offer of help last night.
Exhaustion and a cold night made it wiser today.
And freedom is its reward.
And then I walked Moppit, the philosopher dog
While counting the hot-air balloons in the sky.
And took a Pilates class.
And stopped at Buonforno’s for a latte
With Bastoncito de avellanas.
I wrote something funny/mean about Donald Trump
That I do not regret
And something important for a friend
Who is not happy with
The way this world is today
And wants to do something about it.
I gave another friend
Directions to the laundry.
There are so many.
All morning, I said
“Buenos Dias” and “Hola”
To everyone I met and didn’t care
If they returned my smile,
Though nearly everyone does.
And now it is nearly noon.
I could have stopped
At “I started the day by rescuing a hummingbird,”
But I’m glad I didn’t.
I have been asked today to discuss the proper way to traverse the Erie Canal, the 363-mile waterway that links Albany, New York, to Buffalo and the Great Lakes.
Before we go any further, it is important for you to know that I was asked to deliver this talk in a dream.
It shocked me too.
She sits on the cold stone stoop. She looks neither left nor right.
Her head is bowed, mostly, her left hand extends for alms.
The hand rests on her knee. It is rigid and curled into an unnatural cup. A shape carved over a lifetime. A boney cup meant to hold, pesos, centavos.
Give or don’t give. It is all the same. Continue reading
Welcome to Cobblestone Pocket Museum, the traveling collection of tiny found objects which may or may not have magical properties.
The museum is housed in a gray felt pouch big enough to hold one pair of sunglasses. It does not because sunglasses even if found would never qualify as “tiny.”
The bag has a zipper at one end and the rubber tab on the zipper says “Jet Blue,” which I used to fly whenever possible when the airline first launched. Continue reading
Santiago de Compostela to Porto (160 km – felt like being in a sci-fi movie and life is playing out in reverse. Not recommended!)
There are so many ways to return to Porto at the end of your Camino walk. You can fly, take a train, take a bus, car pool (there’s an app for that) …
My advice is, whichever way you choose, put a bag over your head.
Sensory deprivation will be your friend.
Here’s why. Continue reading
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
The 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
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