I am back after spending the month of March in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.It’s sort of an end-of-the-road place. Over an hour from the beach, no golf courses, not much shopping. Alamos appeals to artists and writers, naturalists and history buffs.
In the 18th century, it was one of the richest cities in the world. Silver, dug from the mines, funded the string of missions up the coast of California. Families from Alamos were among the first to settle in San Francisco. The now fractured El Camino Real that leaves Alamos runs up the San Francisco Peninsula to Mission Dolores by the Bay. Burros laden with silver bars labored to Vera Cruz where ships took 20% of the treasure to the King of Spain.
In 1988, I visited Alamos for the first time because someone told me it was full of arches, and I like arches. Three sides of the plaza are bordered by arches. Arched portals still front the mansions now converted to homes for Norte Americanos who began to arrive in mid-20th century. They restore what the Revolution, disease, and depression left to ruin.
Alamos is a tranquil town of about 10,000, including 250 expats. Still strongly reminiscent of times past, it is has one foot in the present. When I heard a horse clop-clopping down the cobbles, I looked out the kitchen window. A boy, about twelve, was riding bare-foot and bare back on a fine sorrel horse, and talking on his cell phone.
Then I took my glass of limed ice water and retreated to the casita where I shut out the heat of mid-day and turned on the fan. My goal during the month was to complete the chapters in the final section of the book I’m writing. The one about the three Peace Walks of the late 1980s. And I did it! Sometimes I wakened in the cool of the night to write for a few hours, but mostly I hid out in the adobe casita during siesta time. I now know the value of taking writing retreats. Being away from the duties of home freed me to accomplish my goal.
All I have to do now is complete the chapters in the middle of the book, decide on a cover, get a photograph for the back cover, and check every paragraph, every line, to be sure they are as good as I can get them.
Ah, the life of a writer!