When I thought of this trip to San Miguel all these months, I saw a doorway in my mind’s eye. A doorway to new possibilities, to something big and wonderful and unknown. When I strolled that very first morning out into the streets I was struck by how the entire city was a maze of colorful doorways. Gorgeous, multi-colored walls and massive wooden doors with beautiful carved hands for door knockers every few feet. I walked each cobblestone street capturing doorway after doorway after doorway.
I could have walked for hours, for days… but there was painting to do! And there was a wonderful constellation of creative women to meet, from all over the world and of all different ages. Patsy was one who stole everyone’s heart. Patsy is 83 years old and flew, by herself people, all the way from Sydney, Australia to be at the workshop. Whatever courage I mustered to take the leap and come was trumped by Patsy’s vibrant, alive and curious spirit. “We all want to be you when we grow up!” I told her. “You are engaged and curious and vibrant and so brave…” With tears in her eyes she thanked me and said, “I forget my age when I’m with you girls.”
Patsy painted beautifully, but more than anything we were all taken by her spirit. She absolutely glowed. “At my age, every day is a gift,” she said.
It was easy to feel like each day in San Miguel was a gift. I woke up each morning to a beautiful breakfast that was cooked for me (and always included bacon!) a stroll in a colorful city of cathedrals and terracotta walls and papel picado strewn across tiny cobblestone streets. I got to fling my camera over my shoulder and snip snap in the morning light, plotting my next cappuccino. I got to have mexican hot chocolate, perfect brioche and transcendent guacamole each day. I got to get my hands thick with paint in the afternoons, touching brush to canvas and exploring the colors of my heart. It was easy to appreciate that every day was a gift.
As I re-enter my life, as I hugged my boys this morning and kissed them over and over again, I felt it still. Every day is a gift. And, as if I was afraid to lose this burst of deep sustained joy, I hid from my computer that first morning back and went straight to a cafe. The one with the best soy lattes and poached eggs on toast, the one with servers from Morocco and Cuba, the one that plays the best world music, so that I can immerse myself just a few moments longer in the pleasures of the world.
I tiptoe back into my life, trying to hold onto all of the sweetness I possibly can and bring it to my boys and my home. But of course, life happens… and instead of publishing this blog post days ago, I spent the last few days in bed with a stomach flu. Every day is a gift. Every day is a gift… I kept hearing Patsy’s voice in my mind. And I tried, I tried people!
I look forward to sharing more photos and stories with you in the coming days as I feel stronger. For now, I’m excited to share some of the colors I collected while I was away. San Miguel de Allende is really extraordinary.