What a balm.
For the past eleven days Parque Juarez, the glorious, early-20th century French-style city park – with its many fountains, wrought-iron benches, old bridges and footpaths — just blocks from my apartamento here in San Miquel de Allende, has been awash in flowers. Strolling this week along those footpaths, lined with multitudes of plants, trees, scented herbs, and ornamental flowers, has soothed my soul and given me more than a glimmer of hope for the future.
According to the local bilingual weekly newspaper, Atención, “Every year Parque Juarez is transformed into a flower party and popular plant sale.” La Candelaria, which is celebrated on February 2 in the Catholic tradition, represents the presentation of baby Jesus in the temple. But the Candelaria Fair, now celebrating its 60th anniversary in San Miguel, is more than a liturgical celebration, I learned from Atención: “It is also the beginning of the solar calendar used by Mesoamerican cultures, a time to honor the earth and bless the seeds that will give new life.”
As I walked through this fair, winding my way along the flower-lined corridors of the park, I was reminded of the Mexican proverb that translates to: “They wanted to bury us, but they did not know we were a seed.” Leave it to the sturdy, earthy, good-natured Mexicans to look at opposition this way. At a time when the news coming from Washington has been so distressing and disheartening, it’s uplifting to embrace this positive (and subversive) point of view.
And I had to laugh when a wizened old Mexican man, pushing an empty, battered wheel barrow meant to help customers take their plant purchases to their cars, gallantly bowed and offered me a ride. “Taxi?” he said and smiled a wrinkly smile.
Here are a few more of my photos from the Candelaria flower fair: