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.
Luscious!!! Such beautiful photos, thank you for sharing this little bit of heaven with us. Despite that nasty bug – I hope you find some sand in your shoes and smile. 🙂
What a beautiful trip, and such lovely photos and sentiments. I’m so happy that you had this experience. xoxo
Beautiful photos. I have been looking forward to hearing about your trip and it sounds like it was amazing. Every day is a gift…..it’s just so true. Thanks for the update.
Andrea!!! 🙂 Gorgeous! wonderful photos – I’m so glad that you had this wonderful time – you deserve it and all wonderful things – so happy for you!! xoxo Beth
Beauty everywhere. Thank you for sharing Andrea…. It’s so good in sharing your joy. A reminder of what we all can reach for 😉
I am so, so happy to see these photos and to read about your experiences in San Miguel! My husband and I got married there 1.5 years ago–it was an extraordinary experience. I think every wedding should have a parade and a tequila donkey! We crave that place and hope to return soon.
I love these photos! Especially, especially Patsy’s hands. One of my favorites of yours, ever! Thank you.
ok, i am sold! Is there somewhere i can get some info about this painting class? I’d love to try it next year!
I love all these colors — so much beauty and inspiration. Wow! Be well.
Oh! I would give anything to have been part of this! It breaks my heart to read of it, see your gorgeous photos, and to know I had no idea it was happening….and missed it. San Miguel has called me so strongly, and to do art, to do it with such fabulous women…. Sigh.
Thank you for sharing. I hope you are feeling yourself again, and look forward to more pictures.
Gorgeous, can’t wait to see more!
I’ve been waiting to hear about the trip because it sounded so good – looking forward to hearing more, too.
so exciting to see how we captured the beauty of the place in our own special distinctive ways 🙂 these are beautiful, andrea!
So strange that Kelly had to miss the trip because she was sick (so sad!), and then you got hit after–illness does have so much to teach us about gratitude and grace.
I can’t wait to see what impact this experience has on your work, your vision, what you share with us. I am a writer, but Superhero Photo made me want to be a photographer, and now this makes me want to be a painter. Do me a favor: don’t join the circus, okay?
Your photo of Patsy’s hands make me tear up. I’ve always loved photos of hands colored with paint, but hers were so graceful and aged in such lovely ways. I love the idea that creativity will follow us our whole life through. Helps me chill out when I get anxious about not writing/songwriting/photographing more. Every day is a gift, but there is also time…
Gorgeous photos! Wish I was there!
wow…such cool photos! those hands and the story of patsy…truly beautiful.
Truly happy for you. Thank you for sharing the beautiful things, the beautiful stories, the beautiful images… everything. Hope you’re feeling better. 🙂
tear in my eye. have written engaged curious vibrant and brave and stuck it up on the wall in front of me. every day IS a gift. xx
Plus, just got one of the last three tickets to WDS in Portland. I think I am still in shock over how awesome this is going to be. Everyday is a blessing.
This reminds me of a photography assignment I had in digital photography class. I need to spend more time collecting colors. Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂
every day is a gift. i love this.
Oh. Andrea. It makes me so happy that you had that time in Mexico. Just, yay.
You are going to be a magnificent old lady one day and will be saying wonderful inspirational things to young people just as you do everyday.
Patsy sounds like a wonderful woman, and I plan to have that same spirit, vibrancy and curiousity when I reach her age!
We have the same name and I’ve always said that every day is a gift! But I’m not yet 83 years old and I’ve never flown by myself and doubt i ever will! Great post! Patsy from HeARTworks
Mesmerizing! I’ve been dreaming of a camp-for-grownups like this. Infused with travel, creativity, and beautiful souls…your photo of Patsy’s turquoise splattered hands and your description of her spirit brought me to tears. I’m a new reader of your blog, but if I’m not mistaken, I recognize your name from a book or two of SARK’s I read what seems like a lifetime ago. Nice to “meet” you! Be blessed.
You made me cry ,again!! with your beautiful words ..I m very humbled by your comments and say how much I miss you all wish I was coming to San Miguel with you all again again but I will be there in spirit..I think the beauty you see in others is just a reflection of your own essence. My beautiful son Andrew (whom I spoke about when with you all ) has sadly passed away ,6 weeks ago so we are still grieving his loss. How I long to be with our gorgeous Flora and with my sweet friends from San Miguel
love you dear Friend ,your photos are amazing thank you Patsy xoxo
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