I used the word “clear” instead of “black” for coffee, as that Toronto hairstylist told me in NYC

$62—the cost of our stay tonight. We passed by numerous small motor-inns, a la the Rip Van Winkle Motel and the Blue Sunset (or something thereabouts) Motel to get past Buffalo.

Zen talk tonight at the Niagara Falls Terrapin Lookout Point over the Canadian falls.

Deciding to limit myself for rest of trip to one roll—24 exposures—of film so as to (1) increase the value of each image, and (2) so also as to not be concerned about “taking” these images and these experiences back with me, as much as experiencing/observing these things in a more observational, egoless way (my words as I’ve described it before: the opening up/flowering of the observations such that some observations give way because they aren’t necessary first steps or a progression—but are merely more, and in numerous perspectives and areas—to many more observations). When in this mindset, I can go from not noticing anything about a person to noticing 500 separate characteristics/attributes.

So I told D__ my dissatisfaction that every place I go, I feel like it’s just a change of an image, like I’m in an IMAX (realistic) theater but the scene is never real, only a different movie.

But then D__  reminded me of Zen thinking of living in the moment, no goal, no materialistic/Western-style thinking of “seeing it all” (which means, of course, never really seeing fully anything).

But I came to live in the moment, calmly, observationally, and not feel the loss of the moment, but the real moment itself (and cast off nostalgia). The rays of the sun through the clouds became for me not the loss but them in their glory—and I felt good.

And though our conversation had come to feel tired, our conversation had “plateau’d,” then it rose to new level and it felt energetic and refreshing.

And I want to maybe get pastels—art supplies (D__’s quoting of van Gogh—why paint if not actually looking at the subject itself?)

We were at Niagara for, like, two hours or so, until 9. It was good to stop for a while and relax, observe. It’s that demi-meditation time (for looking or writing, etc.) that I require.

Me thinking of how an intellectual, D.F. Wallace-sort of writer might connect in a story the mist rising from the foot of the waterfall to the water dripping from the raincoats in the Cave in the Wind tour office, to the wash water on my hands after washing them in the bathroom—thinking that there’s any real meaning there, unless it’s merely descriptive of my experiences/perspective, but it seems I’m reading crap like that in writers like D.F. Wallace (such as his “Adult World” haughty-joke story).

D__ on there being no meaning (he wonders if he’s using this search for meaning to ease sadness).

Writing the moment of men/women/eye contact/passing, the tension there.

We had another laughing fit in a Tim Horton’s, the first being last fall with R__ in Leamington (“The tomato capital of Canada“). (Also, as far as “of Canada” towns, we passed through Brandstad or something, the “telephone center of Canada,” and “St. Catherine, “the garden city.”)

But this one—I used the word “clear” instead of “black” for coffee, as that Toronto hairstylist told me at that Italian restaurant in New York City—and so we avoided that problem of “black coffee.” That tripped us up at the first Tim Horton’s. But this “scene” (as in, we “caused a scene”) grew out of our having a bill of $4.97 or something and D__ lobbing two-dollar coins on the counter. Also, a “I have this, too” and tossing a 10-dollar bill on table, and we started cracking up, strong stomach-clenching fits of laughing, and over-mascara’d clerk smiled but was true to D__’s theory of the abrupt, terse Canadian idea of politeness (which he had discussed earlier on the road).

Left R__’s today after helping him move until 4 a.m. and (for the list of adventures) riding in a tall moving truck yesterday. D__ decided we should leave before we were roped into more moving labor.

Got $10 U.S. changed into $14.20 Canadian, and I commented to one of the girls how the money looked fake. I agreed with her that it was more colorful than the tired old American greenback, but it still looked fake, not having a money-value.

But somehow I was glad to be back in the U.S. today (at Niagara). Canada kinda boring—the road too far away from cities to see them. We only saw signs proclaiming their existence, but no real cities. And walls blocked off the few houses we saw.

[From journal of Sun., 12 July 1998, Batavia, N.Y., Super 8, Room 181, Journal 22, page 1-5]

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