Timmy Land, a Local Edward James Garden
Ten years ago when I first came to San Miguel I took a tour of the chapels in the countryside and discovered Timmy Land. Timmy Land is a concrete work of art mixing the Flintstones’ town of Bedrock, indigenous faith, Catholicism and an Alice in Wonderland on drugs vibe into what appears to be a huge playground for children.
Located not far from the cloistered monastery outside of Atotonilco, Timmy Land is a marvelous, rambling, otherworldly folly foreigners are fond of building in the countryside. (Not far from Timmy Land is a home constructed to look like the set of Gunsmoke where the ghost of Miss Kitty is sure to frequent.)
I had forgotten about Timmy Land over the years until back in March a group was holding an event there. Basically the event revolved around wearing a costume, getting your body painted and having a 1960s era good time alongside the surreal architecture featuring snakes, monsters, mermaids and saints. I recall thinking there isn’t enough pot in the world to make me want to do that, especially once the sun sets and heaven only knows which concrete images come to life. And, in pot’s defense, all it ever did for me was make me both sleepy and hungry, two states I’m normally in already.
While out exploring campo celebrations of the cross I stumbled upon Timmy Land again and took another tour of the site. Today’s Timmy Land features more Martians and Marian iconography than I remembered but those fit in nicely to the Gaudi-esque landscape. Speaking of landscape, there is a plant nursery growing beside it with some lovely succulents (a type of cactus, not Mexican vampire, as the name implies though a vampire would feel at home in Timmy Land, I suspect).
The buildings appear to be toddler play houses with mosaic floors, warped staircases and colorful architecture connecting the buildings by curvy pathways. Truly, the only thing I enjoyed more than gamboling about was scratching the love starved dog, Bicicleta, named for her obsession with objects that go round and round.
Tim Sullivan, the owner of Timmy Land and a concrete construction company in California (say that three times fast), started the project as a storage shed over two decades ago and the notion of a Salvador Dali type of paradise spread from there. Edward James’ gardens in the mountains feature larger concrete structures of a surreal nature, but Tim Sullivan wins for color and folly. Well, and proximity to San Miguel.
After Timmy Land I had a meal with some dancing pals and I showed them photos. Despite growing up here none had been, or heard of, Timmy Land. So the next day seven native danzon dancers, and one foreign tour guide, ventured back out. Lucky for us, Guadalupe, the caretaker was about and encouraged me to explore farther back in the property. Here I found a theater with a Buddhist monk type of walking maze I enjoyed walking and pretending to be meditative when not imitating the infamous stride of Dorothy, the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man after battling those apple throwing trees near Oz.
Speaking of trees the nursery features several I’ve not seen in Mexico. It has giant maple trees I pondered if their leafs turn colors in the fall like their northern cousins. There were lovely blue Deodar Cedars, evergreens I thought literally needed snow to survive.
Afterwards we stopped by the cloistered monastery that, again, no one raised here had been to. It was here I was told by my pal, Noemi, only foreigners are so curious, as a native is already blasé to what is around them. She obviously never met my brother who knows more about our hometown Hershey, PA area that I could ever know about San Miguel. Oh wait, she does know Pat and will dance with him anywhere in, or out, of town!