Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Week in San Miguel de Allende

Where does one start when talking about Mexico? It is the most extraordinary country. An easy place to visit. The place my friends have chosen to live out their retirement years. 

Blogger has unkindly scrambled the photos I so carefully organized. No matter. It will be like my memories of the past week. Tumbled together.

Looking from the rooftop of one friend's house to the rooftop across the street where another friend is building his (their) dream house. On the far hill lives an artist I studied encaustic with last year. 

Heaven is all around.

We stayed in Casa de Noche on Organos. We loved it there. 

As we waited to meet our friend on Quebrada Street we noticed this doorway with the slipped keystone above the door. See how the door is wedged on one side? 

Looking down into one of the Casa's many courtyards.

There were many altars in town. This is a large painting done with sawdust and other earth materials that I couldn't identify. It's a least 6 feet square.

There were Day of the Dead festivities planned for the days leading up to November 2nd. Here is the church with papel picado (cut paper flags) flying across the jardin. What doesn't show very well is the air harp strung from the jardin to high up in the church towers. I have a video of the music it makes that I may post later.

We just got home last night and I may never get all my photographs sifted through. No matter. They're all in my head; sitting lightly on top of the dreams I've been having all week. 


Wouldn't it be fun to come here in 2013 and make art and see the city? Hmmmmm.....

The walls look like paintings. 

My friend William and I made an altar for Helen who passed earlier this year. It was very moving. Next year I'm going to make an altar for some of my relatives. I hadn't realized what a powerful ritual it is.

The jardin was filled with Catrinas one night. There was a parade and a stage with many beautiful interpretations of the tradition. I wish I'd taken more pictures. Next year I might participate. Big hat. Long skirt. Very cool.

Then margaritas and jicama tacos afterward with shrimp and chipotle sauce. Can you say, "una mas, por favor"?

On the way to the cemetery the next day we walked down a long alley filled with flowers, food stalls and people with buckets full of water and vases. Time to take beautiful things to the dead people. Time to laugh, sing, eat and cry. To offer food, beauty, our presence and respect.

Here begins the procession.

First you buy the flowers. 

Carry your bundle through the crowd.

We run into Katya and Yogesh who teach us their practice of putting flowers on the graves of the gringos in the neglected side of the cemetery. They part out their bundles and share with us so that we are able to join in. What a great idea!

The graves of the Mexicans are lavishly adorned. There are bands who sing the favorite songs of the dead family members while everyone looks pensive. Some of the music is very happy and by that you know that the loved one was a person who loved a good party.

My friends and I sit at one of the stands and eat gorditos and drink tamarind agua. Day of the Dead takes it out of you.

Marigold petals are scattered. 

I was attracted to the stacked graves with the names of the dead painted on by hand. They looked like beautiful paintings on plaster which is just what they were. Stephanie Lee is looking at this and smiling (we wrote a book ...).

Another beautiful interpretation.

A perfect painting.

Oh, San Miguel.

You own my heart.

Placing flowers.

The gringo side of the cemetery is much quieter.

Back home now. Amazed at the fall colors. Starting to unpack the dirty clothes and face our lives here again.


Susan said...

Oh, the colors! The textures! Every vision a painting waiting to happen. I can't wait to see how this inspires your work.

Jane LaFazio said...

Judy! I was there all week too. Teaching a retreat at Casa Luna on Zacheteros!

Judy Wise said...

Hi Jane! I ran into Laurie in the Jardin and look forward to reading about your gathering. I'll send a private email. xo

Judy Wise said...

And thank you Susan for your comment. Right now I'm just overwhelmed by all the beauty.

jill said...

WOW, you are a traveler! The colors and adventures had are beautifully captured in these photos.
YOU are a true beauty, judy!
BIG hugs, love and smiles~ jilloo

Regina said...

Ahhhh, looks like a beautiful time. I've always wanted to go to San Miguel... I will someday. Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip with us.

dorylyn said...

What a beautiful trip! Let me know when to start packing!

Beth said...

I've loved looking at these pictures today -- the colors are fantastic but also your sensitivity in what you've chosen to show us. My day was spent at the Anglican cathedral where I sing in the choir, performing music for All Saints' Day by Tomas Luis de Victoria, who wrote in 16th C. Spain...and I like to think there is a bit of a connection there!

stephanie brockway said...

Wonderful; wonderful. Someday...Thanks for sharing each photo was a feast for the senses

Judy Shreve said...

Fabulous post - your words and images made me feel as if I had been there! xxoo
Amazing colors -- inspiration and art wherever you look. One day I will get there.

lyle baxter said...

let us know when next year! your photos are wonderful. and whoever took photos of you did a great job! we would love to return to mexico keep us posted!

Kim Mailhot said...

Ah....Thank you for sharing your colorful and rich trip with us, Judy. I have this trip in my heart for one day.
Much light and love to your beautiful heart !

Michele said...

Welcome home! Isn't it HARD to leave San Miguel? I love it there so much. Just wandering around, looking and looking, and smelling the foods cooking and listening to the music and the laughter was a true delight. I'm so glad you were able to go. It makes me happy to think of you in San Miguel!

Stephanie Lee said...

I was smiling and staring that the exquisite, rich turquoise and red together...the beautiful writing..the writing done by a hand that probably has fixed the broken leg of a stool or two and I WAS smiling. And then I read what came after and smiled bigger because you know me so well. :)
I smiled at your faces at the end and at the sweet picture of you squatting, placing flowers. I love that picture! And the woman almost drowning in a mountain of crimson and curry colored flowers....I want to hug her!
Mexico. Land of my father. I'd love for you to show me the colorful rich side. Not just the dusty goat-herd sprawls I see in my mind when I remember the stories I've been told.

Clare Wassermann said...

My eyes have been opened Judy!

robin west said...

Thank you for taking me along, beautiful place and magical ocassion. robin west

Lynn Cohen said...

Judy each photo is a work of art. The colors and compositions are so lovely to see. Thanks for sharing so much about the day of the dead. I am learning about this through yours and others art. I can only imagine the feeling of being in a Mexican cemetary when this tribute is happening. lucky those who are so honored! Blessed. Loved.
Maybe I'll ask to be buried in a Mexican Cemetary. Can a Jewish Gringo get in you think? ;-)

barefoot muse said...

Magnificent vibrant colors, and lifestyle. Such reverence to those who have passed.

San Miguel is on my bucket list. The photo's serve to prove why...It's with good reason I've been so fascinated by this place.

Happy you enjoyed yourself!!!

Healing Woman said...

Stunning photos! I have been to San Miguel de Allende but you have made it an even more colorful and luscious looking place. Thanks so much for sharing these treasures.

MB Shaw said...

So beautiful, the colors seem supercharged. I really want to visit there some day. You would be a great guide, hint, hint :)

Adrianne in Portland said...

Really beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing - again! So nice to take a mini-vacation before bed.

wanda miller said...


Parabolic Muse said...

Oh, Judy. so beautiful. I would imagine just walking in silence through such beauty. me. in silence. I can imagine lots of whispering. That church is so amazing! Yes, I think it would be wonderful to be there in 2013.

Thank you for all these wonderful photographs.

Did you see Steph and Bonnie and did they tell you I said hi? I mean, I would think that they would remember promising to say hi, even after they got there and stood enraptured by loveliness, don't you think they'd have said, oooh! i must tell Judy hi for... that person!! and drop their bags and their white face paint and their skirts and their margaritas and their marigolds and run to you, run and run and run and then think... where the hell is Judy?

you avoided them, didn't you?

i understand.


Kathleen Conard said...

As always, I love all of your cold wax creations - such gorgeous colors!!! Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos from your adventure as well.


Stephanie said...

I feel as if I were there! :)
Such an amazing energy in San Miguel, you captured it beautifully.