Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Niagara in October

((…or, ‘Getting Away from it all!’) (1999))

So, fair readers, it is a heavy task for me to tell you a story which will please you as much as many of the others within this book, but with good recall, and God’s blessings I hope to accomplish it. But first I must tie a thread or two while pursuing this story which is less in drama and more in the gift of tranquility in travel.
       Back in the ‘90s, I traveled a lot by myself, although I have done this off and on throughout my life, so it is nothing new, but in most cases it made life easier, less complications in having to appease companions or comrades, no contemplation on what side of the clouds I needed to stand to please a woman, or wife whatever the case may be, whomever I may have been accompanied by. Thus, learning from experience, people need to travel with people that are more like to like, and if you can’t find one, then go alone, making it less troublesome during the trip, less argumentative if you know what I mean.  And to be frank, I had more than my share of travel companions in my life, but there have only been two individuals I can travel with without friction, and no need to mention them, they’re not part of this story. 
       I learned one main thing in life, —and perhaps you can put that into more than the travel category—and I kept it deep within my soul, that being: if you count on waiting for someone else to travel with you to make your day, 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 their self-interest…
       On another note, I travel light, real 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’s as simple as that.  Why tug lugged here and there, one usually uses only a small portion of what they tug about anyhow.

       In the short story “Three Women,” you may have or may have not read of which I wrote: two of them were jealous women, the first of the two insanely jealous—Jean T., 1986 to 1992; and the second, Kikue, 1996 to 1999—the latter, was a quick escape from Japan.  And as you can see by the dates I’ve provided, I didn’t get much sleep from their jealous chapters,  only a four year beak between 1992 and 1996, and then in December of 1999, I met my  soul mate, thank God, I had to kiss a lot of frogs to find her. So this trip was worth taking alone, and let me just burden you some with an earnest urge I have to tell you how I feel about jealousy in either men or women:
      Jealousy is like having an evil spirit by you, entrenched in a person wanting his way, or her way with you, —the jealousy or evil spirit makes the person, a fool, and stupid, but they don’t care. Why, because he allows himself to be blinded, or she does….  This kind of person can be duped by those who know his or her ways. A woman with such a jealous husband the wife—can find a hundred ways to find a means to have her pleasures, without him knowing. Such men put away their jealousy at the very moment when he ought to have taken it on. Just as he had been jealous when there was no necessity for jealousy. Women are much the same. In that four year break, 1994 to 1996, Linda my third wife, was flirtatious with many men, I wasn’t jealous, I actually stood back to watch, and she fell in love with the Target manager, but knew all along what was going on, so she fooled herself, and the Target manager saw me once observing them, and when the divorce came, he told her: “If you can leave and do what you did to your recent husband, you can do it to me with the clap of an eye.”  If anything, he was wiser than I gave him credit for. For myself, I got rid of a headache before it became migraine. So I have some firsthand experience in this area.
       Have said that I must get on to the simply story at hand, which holds little gravity, like Pluto, the small planet, so far-off in our solar system, but yet it has its mysticism.
Autumn in Niagara (New York), —I thought about that before I went there, laid down on my bed a while, whereas the early afternoon sun crept through my window, saw 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, so they appeared. 
       I’m always anxious, if not surprised to see autumn appear, but this autumn I told myself, this beautiful autumn I would be different, in that meaning, 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 beautiful autumn of Minnesota, which there was no equal to it in my eyes, and of course seeing Niagara Falls was a plus… 
        I liked traveling on the moment, hence, I grabbed some money, this one weekend, a four-day weekend, holiday, my holiday, and became one of those “Dharma Bums,” so named by Jack Kerouac, understanding I would be by myself (and all the better for it).  And I would go alone with Buddha’s philosophy: ‘Whose victory is not turned into defeat, no one in this world reaches…” And I had a business that demanded much attention, so I was delighted in the calm of going there, even presidents and kings long for that, the fully enlightened ones, the mindful one, that is.
       I talk perhaps a little less than the average person talks to another average person (writing is what I do most of) —to  myself on these one man excursions, and always told myself: “Chick Evens, you can meet—if you want—meet anyone you want to meet, anyplace, at anytime, anywhere, it’s just a matter of wanting to…” something I picked up from an old Sargent in the Army in Augsburg, Germany back in 1970, who told me not to ‘cling’ so hard onto friendships at an enduring cost, whereas you can find other friends just as well elsewhere. And how true that belief was or is, and it always worked—that is, if I wanted to talk, I simple talked, if wanted to be with someone, it was not hard to arrange, if I wanted a girlfriend for the night, it usually wasn’t a problem: although in 1999, those were not the things I was thinking of, but I knew it from prior experiences, plus wherever I went, someone would usually tell me: “If you’re looking for a good time, I suggest you go here… (Or there—Niagara Falls is no different!).”
        —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.
       “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—no booze necessary (as I always told my clients: if you want to stop drinking, you got to replace it with something better than what you previously had why else would you stop if you didn’t have something better, we drink because it does something for us, to us: consequently, finding something better than what you had, is not always easy: I selected, perhaps selected traveling and  autumn leaves, rivers and old churches, things like that), 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 hearing the rushing torrents of the river nearby—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 said “Niagara Falls,” she said “I believe yaw!” and the adventure of traveling continued; what more could a man have asked God for on a beautiful October day, in 1999, than serenity! And was given it.
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. Reedited and Revised, 7-2015