Report from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, January 2014
In the crowded but cozy Cafe Buenos Dias–Good Morning Cafe–customers in warm sweaters and jackets sip the best coffee in town, breakfast on eggs, beans, salsa, tortillas, fresh fruit and juice and chatter in Spanish, English and French. We sit inside on well-worn leather chairs. Others remain in the patio, warmed by tall heat lamps. Mornings are chilly in this mountain town, temperatures in the 30s F, but by noon, sun will warm the cobblestones, the elaborately carved doors and the people walking the narrow sidewalks. By afternoon, the tangerine, ochre and bright yellow walls will radiate light until the sun slips crimson behind the mountains.
There are artists in San Miguel–painters, sculptors, actors, musicians and writers–from Mexico and all over the world. In the town square–known as El Jardín, The Garden, because it is full of trees and flowers–an improbable wedding cake of a church made out of pink stone soars to the sky, both Gothic and Baroque, La Parroquia, the tallest building in the city.
We come for poetry, the San Miguel Poetry Week which takes place the first week of January. We stay for the beauty, the calm, the roosters crowing, the fresh-squeezed juice, the Botanical Garden up the hill–more lush this year because of welcome rain–and the thermal springs outside that city that make for wonderful swims and soaks.
We are blessed. And because we are blessed, and because the place feels magical, I offer up prayers in the churches, on horseback, at the shrine in the Botanical Garden for people back home: LuAnn, Gaby, Rick, Nancy and Beth. May everyone heal and draw strength from such beauty.