Sounds of San Miguel

The day begins in San Miguel just before 5:00 a.m. when the rooster in my neighborhood sounds his reveille. The prolonged whistle of a passing train cuts through the morning darkness ten to fifteen minutes later. At 6:30, a cacophony of church bells fills the early morning quiet. The symphony of the sounds of San Miguel begins.

The church bells of San Miguel have a rustic quality. Like many visitors to San Miguel, the church bells are a mystery. They ring with no discernible pattern. I have been told the bells sound ten to fifteen minutes before Mass to hasten the faithful to worship. Throughout the day, bells ring on the hour and the half hour; but, the number of rings appear to have little to do with telling the time.

The day is filled with the sounds of city life: cars, buses, trucks, quads, the voices of people, and the sounds of shoe soles striking well-worn paving stones.

Between five-thirty and six in the evening, the elote man (corn vendor) pushes his cart up my street. Aaaaay-Looo-Taaaay, he sings, a drawn out and wailing song, with the beauty of a religious chant going back a thousand years. Its haunting sound is a tenor aria in the music of the day.

Evenings in the Jardin Public, there is Mariachi, the sounds of people mingling and children playing. San Miguel enters through the senses and seeps into the soul. I savor it slowly. I do not rush. I have no agenda. When I hear music, I follow the sound and take in the experience.

San Miguel attracts. It does not inflict itself on the visitor. Its people are amable (friendly, sweet) and a delight to be with.

A white-haired old man and his blind wife sit on a street corner. He strums a battered old guitar and sings while his wife blows a harmonica. Later, I see them walking together, slowly and carefully, down the street. He leads, she follows, her hand on his shoulder, characteristic of the intense love in Mexican families.

The sounds of children, playful, happy, beautiful, their shrill voices, like wind chimes, add a soprano descant to the chorale of daily life in San Miguel.

9 thoughts on “Sounds of San Miguel

  1. Cathy Purcell


    Another beautifully written piece – possibly the best one yet! Reading it, I feel like I am there. I love this blog. Have a wonderful time and we can’t wait to see you soon.

    Back to my work where I strive to write with the simple and elegant style in the writings I read at “”


  2. Claire

    Dennis Thank you for allowing us to share your travel enjoyments. I feel like I am experiencing them through your words. You paint such clear pictures I can almost be there.


  3. Annis

    Another fine piece, Dennis, beautifully written, filling our ears and eyes. Loved reading your descriptions of what I’m lucky enough to be hearing, too. ~xoA

  4. Sally

    Beautifully rendered, Dennis! You captured the essence and now we are experiencing this magical trip too. It’s a lovely journey….!

  5. Judy

    Hi Dennis,

    I thought you were right on capturing the sounds of SMA. Nice Job! It’s hard to explain, to folks who have never been here, what a magical place this is.

  6. Janet Skibinski

    You have made San Miguel into the new Oz. It’s magical, colorful, filled with interesting places and people. I think you should contact their Chamber of Commerce and ask to revise their visitor guide. The only problem with that is everyone from here will be there and it may lose some charm. Fantastic job!
    Looking so forward to seeing you and Annis, soon!


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