Joe Guse on Chris Farley

Monday, December 28, 2015

Some enchanted evening..


Some enchanted evening
You may see a stranger,
you may see a stranger
Across a crowded room
And somehow you know,
You know even then
That somewhere you'll see her
Again and again.

Who can explain it?
Who can tell you why?
Fools give you reasons,
Wise men never try.

South Pacific

“You can’t be lonely, if you like the person you’re alone with.”
Wayne Dyer



Damn. It’s New Year’s again. It really kind of shines a light on things doesn’t it? I always feel kind of like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she sits at the fork in the road trying to figure out what to do next. We know what’s behind us, and what we DON’T want to do again. We’re hopeful about where we want to end up. But sometimes we don’t know what road to start on. The Gym? Tinder? A financial advisor? A Tarot Card Reader?


I’m going to start in 1992.


It was the first real “big boy” summer of my life. I was working in Yellowstone Park after many days, (and months, and years) idling away the time. It was an incredible adventure for me at that juncture of my life. Montana! Wyoming! I couldn’t believe it when I saw the signs pass by on the road.



I had started my life...


I was working at Yellowstone Lake that summer, and next door was the world famous Yellowstone Hotel. I’d never seen anything quite like it. Although I was far from an uptown kind of guy, I used to sneak over on many evenings and listen to this beautiful string quartet that played with the backdrop of the lake and the park behind it. I’d order a beer, find a chair, and just kind of close my eyes and get lost in the music. There was one song I particularly enjoyed called “Some enchanted evening” from the movie South Pacific. It captured the romance and beauty of travel and discovery so well. This is kind of what the scene looked like.



But there was something else about the song that grabbed me. Here I was, somewhere between a kid and an adult, and I’d never really BEEN anywhere. Never fallen in love. Never wandered away to some exotic place. I couldn’t even COMPREHEND the South Pacific.



But I was ready. My mind was clear and my heart was open.



And as is the case often in life, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.


And with the soundtrack of that string quartet playing that summer, I fell in love for the first time. And traveled. And explored. And found out a lot about life I never knew existed.


It seems like a “some enchanted evening” kind of story.


But it isn’t.


Reflecting back on that time, I realized it was because I was ready that I was able to attract all of those things to my life. I wasn’t chasing or desperate to be “in” love.


But I was ready. And I was open to that.


I wasn’t desperate to travel to “find” something I was missing. I simply enjoyed every second of the ride that summer. 


So why am I telling you this?


As with most things in life, we toss the riddles that perplex us out into the universe like a giant boomerang.


And sometimes, when we least expect it, that boomerang comes spiraling back around and smacks us in the head.



So that’s what happened to me.


Almost one lifetime later, I found myself in the strangest place this Christmas.



In the middle of the South Pacific! And you know what happened? I walked in, ordered a beer at one of the nicer hotels, and guess what song I heard playing softly in the background?



Some enchanted evening.


It’s an amazing thing about memory, but nothing quite wakes up those dormant parts of our hearts and minds like a song. I hadn’t thought about that summer or that song in a long time, but in that moment it all came flooding back to me.


I sat down and thought about the synchronicity of it all. I was in an eerily similar situation to the first time I ever heard the song; Alone, in a place I’d never been before, and very much by myself feeling I was on the cusp of a new adventure.


But maybe my younger self had something to teach me. I thought back to my state of mind that summer, and realized it was because of that state of mind that I was able to attract so many great things to my life. What was different now? I asked myself some questions I think we all need to ask ourselves from time to time when we find ourselves in transition. Am I open to a new person coming into my life, or am I still hanging on to baggage from the past? Am I here, in this moment, enjoying the ride, or am I looking too far ahead or too far behind? Am I focused on outcomes or moments?


You don’t even have to think about that shit when you’re a 20 year old kid.


But as adults, these are the knots we tie ourselves up in.


Eventually though, I settled in to a calm peace and enjoyed the music, the beer, and the beautiful ocean. It was nice to untie some knots and simply be in such a wonderful moment.


I knew I was ready again for what comes next. At peace with the past, not worried so much about the future, and ready to play another hand.


And yes, I did meet some ladies on this trip. And crazy island people. And Americans and Germans, and Australians, and everyone else I had a chance to speak to.


This story doesn’t end with a love connection. Not this trip. Not this time.


But some enchanted evening…