You Are Here

Let’s pretend, just for a moment, shall we, that you are here with me.

“Here” is San Miguel de Allende, in the central mountains – the heart — of Mexico, which was built as a fortress in the mid-16th century. This sturdy city, made mostly of stone, has survived many onslaughts over the years (Google its history); and it will, I’m sure, survive the current one.

Everyone here, for the most part now, is behind their own barricades, hoping and praying that this COVID-19 pandemic-pestilence will pass us by. The streets are essentially empty. Doors that were once open for business are shut tight. Only those enterprises that provide necessities, like grocery stores and pharmacies, are still operating. This beautiful, old, colonial city of over sixty thousand residents is eerily quiet — and devoid of its lifeblood, tourists.

San Miguel may be gasping a little now, but it will survive. And so will we all, if we stay well.

One of the ways I’m striving to stay well is by walking in “my” park every day. This park is Parque Juarez, one of the jewels of this city, located not far from my studio apartment. I call the park mine because it is my haven, my sanctuary, my little paradise. It’s where I go to test my physical endurance and to restore my soul. And its gates are still wide open to all of us.

Come, let me show you my park, so you can enjoy it too:

The entrance to Parque Juarez on Aldama
The “You Are Here” sign just inside the park’s Aldama entrance

Normally, there are at least a few teens in the gazebo, practicing their dance steps (especially Hip Hop) to the music from their boom-boxes. But not this week.

The old gazebo in Parque Juarez

Similarly, since the children’s playground has been closed, there are no happy little Mexican kids laughing and squealing here.

Parque Juarez, which was established at the beginning of the last century following a French design, was recently entirely refurbished and made to look like new, with solid new kiosks, two new basketball courts, new walkways and brickwork, and even a huge, wire, bird sculpture that “eats” plastic in order to recycle it:

 

Few people are using the park these days, and those that are, are keeping their distance. I’m wearing one of the face masks I’ve made, just to be on the safe side — which, sadly, reminds me with every breath that all of us, all over the world, are living through strange, strange times.

But then I think about the constants that surround me in this park: the dappled sunlight filtering through the hundred-year-old trees, the rustling sound coming from the stand of bamboo, the birds swooping and singing all around, the monarch butterflies flitting through the pollinators’ garden, the purple-petaled jacarandas now in bloom. These things remind me that life goes on and Nature will endure.

Time to take the stairs now and walk home. And hunker down. Behind my barricade.

18 thoughts on “You Are Here”

  1. Thanks Bonnie for the beautiful reminder of “our” park. I hope to join you in August — I think I told you my apartment will be across the street from yours. In the meantime, there is plenty to love and appreciate in these quieter times.

    1. Can’t wait for you to return in August, Kim! We can do laps in the parque and remark on how SMA is bouncing back from this setback. In the meantime, take good care. — xx

  2. So lovely. You stopped my worry meter for the moment and helped see a brighter world ahead. Thank you, Bonnie!

  3. Dear Bon,
    Thanks for that lovely tour. It is a wonderful picture of your home, and I can picture you walking through the deserted park. Things are quiet here too. Once in a while I see people walk by, but even the cars are few and far-between. Your weekly visit gives me a sense of stability, which I am thankful for. I daily think of the things I’m thankful for, and it makes all this easier to bear. It may be selfish, but I’m thankful I live alone. I hear from the people I work with that there are people stuck with their families in close quarters, and it isn’t always smooth sailing.
    I am also thankful that you are well, Bon. May we and all those we love survive just like San Miguel.
    Love,
    Paul

    1. Thank you, as ever, dearest Paul, for your sweet words. I, too, make a list (in my morning journal) of the things I’m thankful for. It’s a helpful, healthy practice. I’m especially thankful to be old, to be retired, and to be living in this beautiful, old, sturdy Mexican city. One day in the not-too-distant future, you must come and see San Miguel for yourself. — BB xx

  4. Thanks Bonnie. For us all, wherever we call home, these are the strangest of times. Thanks for the walk through your park. We walk our neighborhood natural spaces here in Taos, and wait for healthier days ahead when we can all be together again.
    Stay healthy, listen to the scientists, and help your neighbors however we can.

  5. I sure miss that sweet parque. I’m so glad the restoration was complete before my mad-dash departure. I kiss YOU, too, sweet Bonnie!

  6. I took a walk in the imagination of my heart with you on this Palm Sunday, when we hosted drive by Palms under windshield wipers, windows rolled up, the sign of peace and virtual hugs all around through the glass; preaching live stream to an auditorium full of empty seats; serving communion, the cup and cracker from your kitchen blessed at home. Thank you for the walk. Your park is my park. Though apart, in body, united in spirit. Nothing can separate us. Anna V. Copeland

  7. Hi Bonnie, you and I both are walking as much as possible, and making masks, which are next to impossible to get anywhere! My goal is 300 and am up to 220. Keep on posting as you are always interesting. How did you end up in Mexico? cheerz

    1. Hi, Sue! So good to hear from you. And I’m sooooo impressed by your face-mask output. You’re WAY ahead of me! You’ll see in my next post (due to be published tomorrow) that my beloved park has been CLOSED, so I can only walk around the periphery of it now. 🙁 But this, too, shall pass. … As for my reasons for emigrating to Mexico, oh my, they’re too many to count. But I’ll start with: beauty, climate, affordability, culture, humanity. I certainly would not want to be living in the USA right now. — My best to you, BB xx

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