San Miguel 1 Introduction
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
By Walter Hodges
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I’ve stayed pretty quiet in the recent past.  A self-inflicted quiet actually.  Didn’t want to say much until I was sure, even though I guess it’s become pretty obvious recently.  Deb and I are about to start a journey that will change our lives forever.  We are in the process of trying to move to San Miguel de Allende Mexico, and most likely, we’re not coming back to the US.  In the process we’ll pretty much wipe out everything we know about the day-to-day process of living, at least as it relates to the past and the United States.  Instead, we’re looking to the future.  We’ll live in a manner unknown at the moment and fully invested in the presence of each moment to come.  We’ll cherish the past and those who shared it with us, but the past isn’t nothin but over the ridge line and behind us now.   The more things change, the more they change.  


So, what now?  I’ve been looking for something to write about & photograph.  Something to ponder.  I was looking for a project.   It’s a guess, but I think I just found one.  Since pretty much my college days at Michigan State, friends have turned to me thinking about this or chuckling about that, because of any number of anecdotal stories. Often enough they remarked,  “Hodges, you gotta write this shit down.”  Oddly I feel as though I’m not in charge of anything here.  Like you, we’re just along for our own Dr. Hunter Thompsonesque ride - the observations, the fears, the elations, the sadness, the laughs, the food, the drink, the success and failure, the friends, the questions, the answers, the confusions, the conclusions, and the journey.  And of course, when the time is right, from both Deb and myself, the images will be there as well.  I’m 72.  She’s 65. You know, I swear I feel like I’ve trained for this gig my whole life.  If you will, my own forward observer of a sort. To steal and alter another great Leonard Cohen quote, “I’m just a 72 year old kid with a dream.”


I believe this here is the project I’ve waited for, without even knowing it was coming, and as I stand here, I swear the whole damn thing just instantly swung wide open on me like a new back door – smooth - not a squeak.  So here’s what I’m gonna do boss.  I’m going to try to start writing and shooting here on Facebook, Instagram (still working on it) and my web site.  Longer evolved pieces will appear soon on my web site, so those who can stand the pain of my diatribes can continue with the torture. In between?  I don’t have a clue.  We don’t speak a word of Spanish yet, and I don’t know where this is going.  I want to explore our own future, and I want to get into the culture as well.  Maybe I can use a camera and give something back to some folks who need some help.  I’ve heard the writers I admire say the story takes them, as opposed to them taking the story.  The mise en scene is in place now.  I can feel it.  It’s my hope someone might read what will follow, and maybe they’ll find either a fair and pleasant take on it all, or maybe a touch of common ground to help with their own journey - to Mexico, the moon, or simply “home again, home again jiggity jig.”  The horizon line is a moving target, and the truth, well the truth is in your heart boss.  You gotta follow it and you gotta go now.


First up, Deb and I just got back from a research trip to see friends who live in San Miguel.  We needed to see firsthand the issues expats live with, even in a culture as apparently benign as San Miguel.  We’re posting some photos of that trip here along with a couple from a prior visit a few years ago.  Nothing very specific here, because all we only took our phones (no disrespect to phone photos guys).  No big cameras.  We weren’t focused or thinking about images, but we still got some fun ones and a bunch of reference stuff.


Pretty clearly, Deb and I will not be back to the US (visit for sure - more on this later).  So I guess a person could say that at this age, we are moving to Mexico to die.  That's the truth actually, but I also prefer to add we are going to Mexico to live.  I now have only one serious goal in life, and only one answer to the question "What are you busy doing right now?"  The only answer is "I'm headed to a comfortable chair.  It sits at a window, or on a deck, or a patio, or a rooftop terrace or all of them at the same time. It faces west.  I've got a Mexican beer in hand, a plate of chicken molé in my lap, a medium sized bowl of Mexican vanilla ice cream in the fridge, a small glass and a bottle of fine mezcal on a side table waiting patiently for me to finish.  A camera is within easy reach.  I'm pondering how the words fit together for the next story, and I'm watching a sunset in Mexico - Forever."   


If I’m gonna be honest, I know this might not work.  “Failure is not an option”, but it might not work.  True that.  But I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I didn’t at least try.  I’m putting words in her mouth, but I think Deb feels exactly the same.  We have to try.  There is no failure in giving it a shot.  We feel…..We feel like the chiwawa staring out that doorway in San Miguel.  Scared to death and no fear.  I think my Buddhist friends would describe both emotions as one and the same.


I don’t know where this is headed, but I know exactly where it begins.  It begins right here with this quote.  “It’s a great day….to start again.”  Billy Idol - White-Wedding 1989.







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