I just came in from watering the plants underneath the sun of another glorious afternoon. On the second floor next door my 20-something neighbor is playing his music at boom-blast. He’s probably dancing and cleaning his room – like I did when I was 20. Fortunately for me he likes a kind of hip-hoppy/R&B Mexican music. I think he has mix tapes because they’re interspersed with the occasional Rihanna or Usher.
I can definitely deal.
It strikes me again how enthusiastic the music of the young remains. While I don’t understand the words my Mexican neighbor is singing along with, I’m fairly certain most of them are about going to a party AND protesting the state of the world. Going to the party being the key element because honestly, isn’t that what 20-somethings want to do all over the world? And isn’t even the pain of losing your first love after that party shot through with hope for another party, another demonstration, another chance?
God bless the young, because I don’t care how dismal their subject matter is, their defiance leaks through their music.
Of course there are young people who cherish another kind of music, this piece being one of the most introspective I’ve ever heard,
but I suspect this kind of work is more the province of the old. With enough time, we’ve truly learned about loss; now the aching guitar string just embosses our old sadnesses with the gilt of universality.
Yet we remain specific. Each one of us is learning lessons that are individual to our temperament, and I’ve had to come all the way to San Miguel de Allende to learn something I thought I already knew.
As we say, knowing and experiencing are two unrelated topics.
What have I learned? Wait for it. Wait for it.
The sun feels good on old bones, and
Yup. That’s it.
Of course the horrible climate in Louisville, KY., my last stop for residence, is what propelled me towards sunny San Miguel. Don’t get me wrong, Louisville is a *wonderful* town with more going for it than the average city its size, and good friends that I miss like crazy. But it has a humid summer that over four years sapped the life out of me to the point where I felt I was bending under the weight of it just to walk to the corner.
So, now I know. It wasn’t really Mexican culture that drew me to San Miguel, or the idea that San Miguel de Allende was some sort of hot-bed of multicultural intellectualism, though I like the former and am as ambivalent as ever about the latter.
It was the idea of living my life in a temperate climate simply because flowers and sun make everything else more bearable.
This kind of knowing makes everything else feel …. easier. And take it from me, it is easier to be poor or alone or even frightened about one’s future when the sun is gentle and the plants on your patio are dancing their usual riot. No wonder, eh?
But it’s a wonder for me, and if I have anything to do with it I will never go back to living in a rotten climate. After all, the young sing everywhere – and sound even better underneath a gentle sun.
Thanks, San Miguel. You’ve taught me not what I wanted, but what I actually need.