Segments


Using my pocketknife, he carefully slices into the thin cap layer, removing a three-eighths inch disc.

"Change happens. You must listen to change, it is required." He touches the flame to the opposite end of the cigar and the Dominican tobacco releases its luscious aroma. "Trouble arises when you do not listen to change, life is out of harmony otherwise. It is important to enjoy all facets of life."

Cesar Torres is a computer guy; his specialty is security, protecting businesses and their computers from hackers. He is a complex man who has journeyed far from the rain forest village in the mountains outside of Managua, Nicaragua where he was born. His father was a farmer, for forty-four years his mother was a teacher.

"I live my life in segments."

"You mean like cycles?" I ask. He nods.

Cesar studied business and psychology in college. His first introduction to computers was in college. "The minute I touched them," he says, "it struck me they would be an important segment in my life."

After college he traveled around Central and South America, even to Texas. He found significance in cultural differences, but the vast similarities of all people intrigued him more. "We are all the same," he says fingering his cigar, "ambitions, goals, loves, fears, we're all the same."

Returning to Nicaragua, another segment presented itself; civil war, the people fighting to overthrow a dictatorship. Cesar became a soldier. He sees strong parallels between the Nicaraguan Civil War and the American Revolution. "There are many common scars," his voice is quiet now. Cesar is a very wise and articulate man, but he finds it difficult to talk about the war, "They are memories I want to put away." The war segment brought him useful survival skills one can't learn in school and magnified, in his eyes, the value of human life.

Cesar met Lisa before the war, then she and her family moved to the states, eventually settling in Columbia County. After the war Cesar followed, they were married and began a family of their own in Philmont.

Family is and always has been of the utmost importance to Cesar. He looks at responsibility with a serious eye. He talks about the lessons we teach our children and how those lessons prepare them for and are proportionate to the fullness of their lives. Cesar takes his sons climbing. "They've climbed twelve of the forty-seven Adirondack Mountains," his voice is filled with pride. Reaching the top is important but he believes the lessons learned in the climb hold the greater value. "The journey is the reward," he smiles.

Cesar even finds time to pass his wisdom on to others. He has taken several groups of local teenagers to Nicaragua, to help create a water treatment plant for hurricane ravaged villagers. Speaking of these young people he says, "It is important to nurture their enthusiasm for life, important to give them exposure to other cultures."

Somewhere between computers and family Cesar also finds time for art, for sculpture. "I love art that defines reality. Having things materialize in your hands, accomplishing, defining what is in your heart with your hands is great fulfillment."

"What will you be doing in ten years?" I ask.

Without hesitation he shoots back, "I don't know."

I ask this because a fresh segment now stands before Cesar. He has accepted a new job and, after twenty years in Columbia County, will soon relocate his family far out of state. "What you gain now you use in the next segment. Instead of worrying, tune into the next segment and follow it." He rolls the cigar between his fingers, thinking, "We require challenges, they make us grow, evolve."

I have known Cesar but a few short years, I'd swear it's been decades. I will miss my friend but I'm happy for him and wish him well on his journey.

"I doubt I'll ever be rich," he says. "Great friends and your family, that's what's important in life, not money."

Using that standard Cesar Torres is a very wealthy man.

We'll talk next time From The Road.

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