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.
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
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,"
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
to Road Archive