Tag Archives: San Miguel de Allende

My mother’s hands – a symbol of love

This week’s photo challenge is “symbol.” I don’t usually write much for these photo challenges because I think the photo should speak for itself. But we were also asked to tell the story behind the choice of our symbol.

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My mother’s hands. The last time I saw her. We were sitting on her patio in San Miguel de Allende, July 2010.

These hands held me, caressed me, bathed me, massaged me, wrapped around my face, and held me when I was learning to swim. They brushed my hair, cooked food, tended flowers in the garden, held our kitties, stroked our dogs, and cared for her beloved horses.

They held castanets and ballet positions when we danced together. And they played her piano. Beautifully. They were poetry in motion.

They never once hurt me. They were living symbols of love. And when she was dying, I held her hands in mine and gave her back as much love as I could.

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Her true love

Today would have been my mom’s 84th birthday. It’s the second birthday since her death, and some of the wind is still knocked out of my sails without her.

Thinking of her today, I remembered all that she loved, and there was a lot. Her family, her piano, her dancing, her ocean.

But most of all, her true love was her magnificent horse, Negro (the Spanish pronunciation “naygro” meaning black). She rode and jumped him with abandon, as she did life, up until she was about 74 years old.

These 3 photos were taken on her 70th birthday. Happy birthday, wherever you are, my sweet mamma.

Capture the Colour

Capturing colors can bring wonderful surprises. So I decided to take part in the TravelSupermarket.com “Capture the Colour” contest to share some of my little surprises. Even if we spell color differently, capturing it is a gift!

I once painted a picture in elementary school with red grass and trees with blue trunks and violet leaves. My teacher asked what the heck I thought I was doing. I said I was imitating Gauguin, you know the guy with the pink sand, yellow ocean and blue/green/lavender horses? She told me to never pull a stunt like that again. Whew. Talk about blowing your enthusiasm for colors.

After I met and married my husband, who is a painter, my love of colors came back to me through him. Everywhere I turn now, I see colors. Here are my five:

#1

Feelin’ Kinda BLUE
Hotel Paříž, Prague

That was my first thought. The masses are outside, cramming the streets of Prague, which are filled with awful tourist-trap shops full of junk. Hidden in a spot that’s quiet, away from the tourists, our lady hangs her head and mourns her beautiful city.

#2

I got carried away! Sometimes it IS easy bein’ GREEN!
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

 One of the dozens of parades every week through the Jardin in San Miguel de Allende. This particular parade was very special to me as it was the last time my mother was able to get out of the house and walk to her beloved Jardin before she died. More on this trip on my post, I left my heart in San Miguel.

#3

I wanted to see the Christmas tree and all I could see was RED.
Old Town Square, Prague

 Turned the corner into the square and stopped dead in my tracks. It was a freezing night, but the red threw warmth into our souls.

#4

Did someone say WHITE? Well, here ya go!
At a park in the Czech Republic

He just couldn’t stop performing.

#5

“Silence is not always golden; sometimes it is YELLOW.” – Anonymous.
Montone, Italy (my home) 

On a cold March morning in Montone, the street lamps had been left to burn until almost ten. There had been a ferocious storm the night before, no one was out. I found myself alone, silent, with my little friends in this sculpture, who were bathing in their pale yellow light. More walks in Montone.

Bloggers I nominate (sorry, only 3 as so many have already been nominated!):

Janine – Destination Umbria
Anneliesa – Anneliesa Rabl Blog
Tiffany – The Pines of Rome

I left my heart in San Miguel

If home is where the heart is, then I have two homes. One of which I’ve never lived in. But it was my mom’s home for 25 years. And wherever my mom lived, my heart was there with her. The last time I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, was with my brother and sister to say goodbye to our mom forever and, as I discovered later, to leave my heart there with her.

A full year after my mom’s death, my mind wanders back to San Miguel. The pull is strong, but not nearly as strong as Italy, and it’s for different reasons. Italy is our home. We chose to live here. Ever since the lure of Italy wrapped itself around my husband and me, we’ve never doubted that we did the right thing by moving here.

Still, San Miguel calls to me through my mom. I know I could never live there, beautiful as it is. It’s too noisy, too congested, and too full of wealthy Americans who have replaced the charming, small houses with mansions and large hotels that don’t fit in with the local ambience. Luckily, one can still find the untouched streets that are the heart and soul of San Miguel.

When my mind wanders back, I feel the cobblestoned streets under my feet, I smell the cooking tortillas through open windows, I sweat under the intense sun and heat and stop to catch my breath as I walk up the steep hills at 7,000 feet. I hear babies crying, Spanish, endure the endless stream of pick-up trucks, I choke on the exhaust. The names of streets roll off my tongue: Tenerias, Pila Seca, Umaran, Zacateros, Calle de Aldama, Sollano. I sit in the Jardin and gaze at La Parroquia, or watch one of the parades that seem to dance through the historic center every day.

Then I walk away from the congested center and discover the quiet San Miguel with its small gems of painted doors surrounded by climbing bougainvillea.

I sit on the terrace of my room at the colorful B&B that’s owned by my mom’s best friend and remember how this “second family” of my mom’s became mine as well.

And amidst the pick-up trucks and taxis are the burros that still populate the streets.

All of these memories tumble through my mind, pulling me back to San Miguel. But the dearest memory I hold is sitting with my mom in the cool shade of her patio, watching her beautiful hands as she recounts stories of her beloved San Miguel–the place I left my heart.