Literally and figuratively, I’ve been mentally and physically slow of late. Seasonal syndrome? Perhaps. Groundhog day syndrome? Perhaps. Simply overwhelmed by news and campaign negativity? Highly likely. I know it happens to all of us, but I also know I’m luckier than many to be able to roust and revive by getting on a plane.
I went back to San Miguel de Allende, that beautiful colonial town in the mountains of central Mexico. Their 11th Annual International Writers’ Conference & Literary Festival was underway, and over the week I heard Gail Sheehy, Joyce Carol Oates, Scott Simon, Luis Urrea and John Perkins talk about their lives, their books, their philosophies and their concerns; wonderful writers and speakers, with the talent to transport others to higher ground. My oh my.
In between intellectual pursuits, all I needed to do was walk about town with my camera to be revived. Perhaps colonial Mexico is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly is mine. It satisfies my longings for color and charm, good food, intersection with interesting fellow travelers, and the opportunity to join in a variety of activities for language and art immersion.
Among my pursuits, I chose an iPhone photo walk with Gracie, (http://photowalksanmiguel.com) and was re-introduced to Snapseed 2 by Google, an app I had downloaded ages ago and thereafter ignored. I‘m now hooked; it creates magic from the mundane with the click of a button or two. My oh my.
On Ash Wednesday, I sat with a table of friendly, chatty strangers from all over the world at St. Paul’s Anglican Church while we rolled those ubiquitous plastic trash bags that are destroying the environment of so many countries, into little tiny balls. Over the course of two hours we compacted enough of them (it takes about 2,000 balls) to stuff into a pre-sewn waterproof fabric cover, creating a child’s mattress. In nearby villages, these mattresses lift kids from damp dirt floors and ground crawling creatures, and are welcomed. It was a satisfying morning.
Am I “cured” of my malaise? I suppose not. Energy and interests wax and wane. But I do know how to alleviate it with Mexican medicine.