I just bought new boots.
I had to reluctantly admit it is winter, my feet are cold, and crocs aren’t doing anything to keep them warm.
I love them. A lovely steel blue, a bit of a heel, a nice design. Pretty damn comfy.
And as I go down the streets of San Miguel I feel myself strutting.
John Travolta comes to mind as I heel-toe, heel-toe. The soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever – Stayin’ Alive – reels through my mind. The title is my theme. I am here! I made it through.
It is a great day. I have things to do, I just don’t know about them yet.
There is music in the streets. There is music in me. They could vie with each other, but here it is complementary. It all works, seamlessly.
I mind the cobblestones, glancing down to make sure I don’t trip. Break a leg. Ruin our upcoming vacation.
But the displays along our lovely streets; the Xmas season is now upon us, make my eyes stray. My iPhone rises, there are photos to be made. There are always photos to be made. San Miguels days are chronicled.
I don’t stop strutting though. I get the shoulder movement into sync. John Travolta, I am channeling you.
In San Miguel, you can have a destination or not. Life is going to surprise you regardless.
There are sidewalks in San Miguel, but they are narrow and the streets are just as useful. I often strut right down the middle. Cars are pretty patient here. We don’t see road rage. I just turn around and smile, gesture a “sorry” and hop back onto the sidewalk.
I make my way to Ojo de Agua where I am to meet up with a visitor to San Miguel. I met her in front of a stand full of jewelry in Parque Juarez yesterday. We struck up a conversation, now here we are, after both walking the cobblestones.
Don’t you ever wonder what stories these cobblestones could tell?
I wish they could talk. Join the storytelling night. I bet they know secrets.
Maybe they would tell the story of the jeweler’s daughter as she makes her way to Parque Juarez on the weekends. Her father’s hard work, 50 years long, is heavy in her backpack. She walks with purpose and then spends her day smiling at strangers, offering up her dad’s story and hoping they will purchase one of his labors of love.
Or of the lovely man who pushes his wheelbarrow of flowers along the narrow cobbled roads or ducks through cars on the Ancha. Always smiling.
Or the hat vendors, tall stacks being balanced on their heads. Empanadas, dolls, shawls, all are presented to us on the cobblestones.
The festivals – so many of them – are made up of people and their stories. The histories and traditions of the past, maintained, evident, and celebrated now and into the future. Colorful, frenzied, or subdued. Color always surrounds the cobblestones. They must be happy.
Funky autos, gas trucks, tuk-tuks, buses, motorcycles, horses, donkeys, wear the cobblestones down, causing them pain. The cobblestones have their own stories, they are not just witnesses to others.
Of course, there are stories about love and learning as the Mojigangas sway and the mariachis play along Aldama towards the park. The newlyweds and their entourage finely decked out behind them. There is a lifetime of stories to yet be crafted by them. The cobblestones will bear witness to their days and years ahead.
Smiles seem mandatory, along with Buenos Dias’s and a wave. Strangers follow suit. New stories.
There are final chapters.
The bereaved walk behind the hearse, slowly, backing up traffic. There are no horns. Everyone is respectful of the loved one’s passing. The cobblestones tell his or her story one last time. The mariachis play here too.
Another final story, one once again of smiles and waves. We have lost the man, Colin, in the Pepto Bismal VW, his personal toy chest attached precariously to every possible surface, their height towering over the sidewalks. He brightened up everyone’s day and will be sorely missed. I imagined one day that there would be a traffic jam on the cobblestones of Correo. The climb up the hill ends with the whole thing toppling over, as the music plays on. Colin’s music and joy will live in our hearts. A final wave to you Colin. The cobblestones are sad.
When you walk on the cobblestones today, think about that, what story would they tell about you?
I invite you all to tell us that story from the cobblestone’s point of view.
And may you find your strut too. And if so, what is the theme song that plays in your head?