day 4 | niagara & st. catherine's

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Miles: 949 - 1258
On the radio: Voyager chapters 14-23, Kaleidescope Heart by Sara Bareilles

The further time pulls me away from this road trip, the more it feels like a dream. 

Niagara Falls was a detour. I was originally planning to head to Ohio after Scranton but figured, why not? So I drove north and partially felt like Jim and Pam about to get married except not really at all.

I got to Niagara Falls, paid too much for parking, and tried to wait out the rain clouds but the security guard for the viewing bridge clearly wanted to go home to his dinner. 

Because this stop was a detour, I booked a listing that seemed close enough to the falls but were actually a little bit of a drive into the Canada side. I arrived just as the sun was setting and remembered once again why anyone opts to live in the countryside. Those colors, that light, and that infinite space must never get old.

I rented a tiny little cabin in Hilda's backyard. She greeted me with a hug, welcomed me into her home, and the following morning I found out she'd lost her husband just two days before. It was so subtle, so full of acceptance and love, and so new. A few days before, I'd asked about check in and she said to get in touch with her daughter since she might be at the hospital. The hospital, a few days before. 

She made me breakfast and let me take her portrait in her wisteria-lined backyard and I cried as soon as I was back on the road. How could anyone have experienced such a huge loss but still been so warm, welcoming, and optimistic? How could she continue on with such grace?

When I routed my trip, I was banking on staying with friends as much as I could. I'm happy that the stars moved just in time for me to meet Hilda. As much growing as I've felt, I know there'll always be more.

Places went and loved:
Donatello's - for a cheap, quick bite to eat while waiting at border control
Omis Haus - for a cabin in a wisteria-lined backyard, homemade breakfast, and a much-needed hug on the road