Walking Woodstock: Woodstock South

Walking Man sculpture by Alberto Giacometti.

To get to Woodstock South, fly  to Mexico City and catch the next plane to Leon. The bus is cheaper and more comfortable, but the bus station is across town a half hour by taxi. Mexico City is huge, sprawled across the landscape like Los Angeles.

San Miguel de Allende was colonized by Woodstock artists long ago. There is a famous art school where Woodstockers have been teachers and students. A few years ago the flaneur flew down to the old colonial town to visit his friend, Stella Chasteen. Stella is a ceramic artist whose favorite artists are Bosch and Brueghel. She’s a Scot who studied with Lucian Freud at the Slade School in London.

The flaneur arrived, with his usual impeccable timing, on the Day of the Dead, a part of Halloween Mexicans take very seriously. That evening, before dinner with Woodstock artists Alan Siegel and Mamie Spiegel, the flaneur and his hostess walked down a narrow street in which each house displayed a window exhibit celebrating the artfulness of death. It was a view into the national psyche.

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Perversely cheered by the skulls and coffins they’d viewed, the flaneur and Stella drank the excellent Mexican beer, Negro Modelo, and ate their bloody steaks with gusto.

Unsurprisingly, the conversation  turned to the subject of the day. The flaneur told them of the strange  and lonely death of Neal Cassidy, the Beat Generation figure Kerouac wrote about in On The Road as Dean Moriarty. He was found dead, of causes unknown, on the railroad tracks leading into San Miguel.

The next morning was hotter than usual in the mountains, so they drove to La Gruta, a swimming hole not far from the town. It is a natural grotto entered by water down a long dark tunnel, a birth canal, from which you emerge into the fierce Mexican sunlight, refreshed if not reborn. (It was also a spa, so he discounted the easy symbolism.)

The Jardin (pronounced har-DEEN), smaller than New York’s Washington Square Park, is the center of San Miguel. After lunch they claimed a park bench, and watched the town go by, from noisy balloon sellers to new mothers showing off their babies. The rowdy birds in the trees competed with the happy stridency of the mariachis and the rapid Spanish of those who promenaded past.

As the days passed and he settled into the slow rhythm of life in paradise, the flaneur took stock of himself and his new environment. He looked for what Mexico had to teach him and decided that the lesson presented by Mexico was astonishment…and time. Time was an illusion, it did not move, he saw. It remained the same, while we moved through our lives. In this sense, the Mexicans were Aztecs. This revelation was as astonishing as watching the sun rise. He turned it over in his mind, and found  no way to escape its truth. Woodstockers who lived in San Miguel warned him that Mexico was a trip, and now he began to see what they meant. Here were people who barely had two pesos to rub together who seemed happy; people who were called lazy by racists, who worked harder than Americans. He watched the sweepers, and the linesof a poem came to him:

“At five in the morning,/in the garden

beneath/The blue jacaranda/Where the peacocks scream/And the fountain refreshes/The riotous flowers,/I sweep the blue shreds of dawn.”

The Jardin was always immaculate. One morning he was surprised to find an American newspaper left on his favorite bench. The bench gave him a complete  view of the pink towers that rose above the neo-Gothic facade of Parroquia de San Miguel  Arcangel. Someday he would enter the church. For now the towers were all he needed to ascend to heaven. He picked up the newspaper and felt dizzy. It was March, 1997, and the news reported the suicidal departure from this dimension, possibly by UFO, of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult.

Why was everyone in such a hurry? Heaven would call soon enough. He thought of the calacas, the tiny skeleton figures like us getting married, playing the guitar — they were both funny and sad, bustling about, forgetting the skull beneath the skin. He watched a sweeper in the distance, and another stanza of his poem came unbidden: “I sweep the drowsy scorpions/ From the rumpled bed of  morning/So the day is easy/And without apprehension.”

As he walked the streets of San Miguel, the flaneur recognized faces that had disappeared from Tinker Street. Some of them had just moved their crafts shops south to San Miguel, while others had built new houses in the hills. It was becoming an American outpost, with a distinctly Woodstock edge.

One morning Stella told him she wanted to destroy some of her ceramics. The flaneur saw no flaw in their beauty, but she was adamant. The flaneur proposed that she give them away. So that afternoon they sat on his bench in the Jardin and watched as people stopped to look at her discards, which he had placed across the street with a sign in Spanish: free. Most passed by without looking. It was several hours before they were all taken, a lesson in humility. Or was there a deeper lesson to be learned? Thinking about time standing still, and the Heaven’s Gate suicides, he knew that he knew nothing.

“I sweep the crumbs from the picnics / Of the poor, so they will not seek/Second  helpings of what they cannot have.”

Staring up at the towers, it occurred to him that Woodstockers came to San Miguel for what they could not find at home: peace.

He finished his poem.

At five in the morning
No one is here to hold
The great bunches of balloons,
And the April rain has washed
Away the cantilena of the guitars
And the triumph of the bright horns.

There is one comment

  1. sawyer

    For those curious about the Heaven’s Gate cult I have a lot to say as I was a member for 19 years and left because I actually failed to confront some lesson steps that define what Ti and Do, the founders referred to as “the process” – what in the religious records was called the “overcoming”. In this little story it appeared to be assumed that dying was equivalent to going to Heaven, which Ti and Do taught and I’ve since verified was not the teachings of Jesus who defined Heaven more than anyone before him during this current civilization.

    It is true that when one believes in the most current Representative from the Kingdom of God in the Heavens, which goes hand in hand with “abiding by all that Rep taught” (as best we can) that our Soul or Spirit can be saved into a type of in between condition, thus in the Kingdom of God’s safe keeping, as Jesus referred to as “paradise” – and was referred to in the Old Testament as Abraham’s Bosom can might be considered to be the first of three “heavens” (sky to outer space destinations).

    But the most important part of that point is “current Rep…”. In other words believing and abiding by everything Jesus taught was the best anyone could do, that is, until He, His Soul returned as He promised to take a new incarnation. After all, he said it was the “son of man” that was returning with His Kingdom of many members to include both his students and believers then and the unjust as well who would also be once again take over physical human form. (That’s the idea of living again but is not what is often taught in eastern religions referred to as reincarnation).

    But this is why some people can know more than others about the true nature of the Kingdom of God, Kingdom in the literal heavens and could even be legitimately willing to lay down their lives when they know they are with their teacher they were with before while others think them naive, victims or insane in some way when their arrival and/or exit hits the press throughout the world as it did starting in 1975, and then again in the 1990’s, climaxed in 1997 and now once again is coming to the for as of 2017. The truth provided by the Older Members from this Next Kingdom Level speaks to different people at different times. It’s set up that way because all Souls and Spirits and humans that become the vehicles for them don’t grow at the same time and rate as the entire process is compared to being in the human school, that can be graduated from.

    My book is available for free and/or for purchase as I attempt to tell the truth about my experiences with Ti and Do and their “classroom” and have shown how They satisfied all Jesus and Revelation prophecies, with some remaining to be revealed. My book shows verse by verse, even sometimes word by word with many Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek legitimate re-translations and new interpretations, while maintaining context and numerous references in the Bible and includes links in it’s appendix to most all of Ti and Do and Crew’s actions and teachings.

    There is no new legitimate cult or group or leaders, nor anything to buy, nor club to join. The task for new believers in Ti and Do is to come to recognize they came from the Creators kingdom, who created all the planets and life forms and to then “Stand” for Them and maintain that Stand until each of our exit of our vehicles, however that happens. Once again it entails both belief and action and with belief comes the option to take on all their taught behaviors and ways to be found listed in their book.

    This will not be easy but by seeking the help from our only true Father in the heavens, making sure to project our asking for that help beyond the stars to escape the lower forces who maintain most control over humanity, all difficulties can be conquered. This is NOT about suicide as we each need our human vehicles to learn our lessons through. For my comrades who exited in that way, they had learned all they needed by that time so it was permissible for them to exit in that way.

    For free materials search for Sawyer Heaven’s Gate and/or write to me at: sawyerhg@yahoo.com.

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