Neither floods, mud, dead ends, cold, nor the blasting sun stay us from sleuthing along the back roads of San Miguel for the next best painting site. We have to admit that rain is the exception because, as you can imagine, one cannot paint with watercolors in the rain. If you, the reader, do not live in San Miguel you may not know that this is the rainy season. For a few weeks, it has been raining, some, almost every day and, a lot, a couple of times a week.
Linda is just back from vacation and we were both excited to find a painting site. While Linda has been away, I have been working on a second book with the working title: Traveling the Back Roads of San Miguel de Allende: Snippets of Paintable History. There is a gap in the text that suggested a needed visit to El Lindero de la Petaca.
Well, there was a reason that we hadn’t visited El Lindero when we painted in that area a year or so ago: It is isolated. During the rainy season, there is one barely passable road into El Lindero. Here is what one of the other roads to this community looked like today. Even men driving pickup trucks said they wouldn’t attempt this crossing.
This isn’t really a bridge—more likely a low water crossing which in this case is a slab of concrete poured over the bed of the river connecting the road on either side. For much of the year, we can cross the various rivers at these crossing points, but not today.
The roads were a muddy mess with huge mud troughs that Linda navigated like a pro. It took us about 2 hours to find El Lindero and then some driving around to find the capilla. I should have paid attention to the description of the capilla in de Gast’s book which said “under construction.” There was nothing to paint in El Lindero—a dead-end!
I remembered a somewhat hidden calvario across the river from El Lindero, but then we had to backtrack through all the mud to the one real bridge over the Laja. It took us about three hours to find our painting spot for the day but it was shady, not too many mosquitos, and we needed a painting of a calvario for the book. This calvario in our paintings was by the side of the road near the small community of Los Guerrero and was not part of a capilla.
The term calvario is used for structures, many tiny, that can be found along paths and roads, on top of hills, in the middle of fields, and in the atriums of capillas. Offerings in the form of candles and flowers are left in the calvarios and prayers said for the dead. A few are decorated with stone carvings and paintings. The calvarios that we have seen do not have doors or windows.
This calvario did have candles and some flowers for offerings but no interior paintings. Two decorative carvings flanked the opening.
Los Guerrero: population, 66; dwellings, 13; elevation, 1865 meters
El Lindero de la Petaca: population, 217; dwellings, 43; elevation, 1880 meters