Friday, May 23, 2014

Autumn in Niagara (1999)

Autumn in Niagara—I thought about going to Niagara a few times, then one afternoon in autumn while the early afternoon sun crept through my window, seeing the autumn leaves of Minnesota floating off the trees onto the ground in my backyard on Albemarle Street: thin, and tanned they were, as if in a stage of old age, I made up my mind. 

       I’m always anxious, if not surprised to see autumn appear, but this autumn I told myself, this beautiful autumn it would be different, in that I’d fly up to Buffalo New York, rent a car, drive from there to Niagara, and see the fall leaves; instead of enjoying the long beautiful autumn of Minnesota, I’d spend a four day weekend   seeing Niagara Falls, and I could even compare autumns.
       I love the movie and reading, and usually they inspire me to see places, and the movie: “Niagara,” with Marilyn Monroe, of which I seen a half dozen times, had done just that, inspired me: and so I’d become the Dharma Bum for the weekend.     
        I learned one main thing in life—and perhaps one can put that into a travelogue, —that being: if you count on waiting for someone else to travel with you, you may never go, and if you count on them on a trip to make you happy, you’re going to be disappointed, and if you let them take charge of your life, that is exactly what they will do—and it is usually not for the better, rather in self-interest… So I traveled on the moment, and mostly alone.
       Well, I traveled light too, sometimes too light, a small suitcase will do me just fine, and what does not fit into it, I simply will have to do without, or  purchase it at  my destination—it is as simple as that.  Why tug lugged here and there, one usually uses only a small portion of what they tug around anyhow.

        —So here I was, at Niagara Falls, in October, my birth month: I had bade farewell to Minnesota, and all the little bums back there, and I washed my face, on a fresh looking towel in my room, and walked out to meet Niagara Falls, it was as close as a hop-skip-and-jump, and along the way, I ended up picking up the autumn leaves in the park next to my cabin, they looked like firewood, heated to a bright red-hot and yellow, orange, cheese like color. Most pleasant to the eyes, I told myself: and huge, more so than Minnesota leaves: all that water I suppose.

       “What is going to happen to this leaf?” I asked myself, holding it in my right palm, looking deep at its veins—at its splendorous twilight of deep auburn colors, added: with God’s personal touch. Happy I was, and no one to say: you silly boy.  No, I was sober, or perhaps drunk on life—   that’s the way to live: all alone and free in the soft leaves of autumn, and besides the leaves, it was seeing the great waterfalls, and hearing the rushing torrents of the river—and standing under the great somber sky and clouds, calling up on my cellphone, my dear and long-lasting friend Diane Horton, while standing next to the falls and asking her “Guess where I’m at?”  And of course she couldn’t, and when I said “Niagara Falls,” she said “I believe you!” and the adventure of traveling continued; what more could a man ask of God, than to have a colorful and beautiful autumn day, in Niagara, other than, Minnesota, and incidentally, New York comes close to a Minnesota’s autumn.

Note:  Written while in Lima, Peru, 5-29-2008. Written with the intentions to let the reader know that traveling can be as much fun, if not more, alone, than with someone needy; it is of course a matter of choice, but one needs to look at and count the cost, for when you take someone with different expectations with you disappointment is usually not far away. Reedited, 5-2010.