Crack! sang the bat as the ball—now a mere white speck—sailed over the 360-foot sign in left center field. What a great swing. The kid sure could play ball.
Little knots of spectators were scattered throughout the bleachers, chattering among themselves, enjoying the warm sunshine and the colorful spectacle taking place right in front of them. It was a beautiful Spring day. Everything was green and lush and fresh. The buds on the trees were just starting to unfold: you could peek inside and see tiny leaves just waiting to burst out.
I had been walking through Golden Gate Park when I wandered over to the baseball diamond and decided to sit awhile in the bleachers. Leo’s Bar and Grill, in blue-and-white uniforms, was at bat and Janie‘s Deli, in old New York Yankee pinstripes, was in the field. The limed outline of the batters box was almost invisible, so it had to be around the fifth inning or so.
I walked over to the snack truck parked along the first baseline fence, filled a jumbo hotdog to overflowing with mustard and chopped onions, and hopped back up on the bleachers.
When I had left the house that morning, my seed packets were still on the workbench, along with the potting soil and the seed flats—all patiently waiting for me. I had pretty much decided not to start seeds this year, between the drought and all the hard work of starting seeds in six-packs, raising them, and then transplanting seedlings into the cut flower garden.
The thwop of the ball hitting the catcher’s glove brought me back to the game. I glanced out to left field beyond the pitcher’s mound and marveled at what gorgeous shades of green ran all together through the grass and the rich, chocolate-brown color of the loose dirt in the base paths. The shortstop was deep in the hole, a coiled spring bent at the waist with his glove just brushing the dirt, yelling his litany—“No hitter in there, pitch, no hitter in there, pitch“—ready, ready to pounce on any grounder that came screaming at him.
It’s funny how certain sights and sounds can conjure up childhood memories. I remember playing baseball when I was 12 or 13 and how just knowing that Big League Spring training was beginning would start a special feeling washing over me—a feeling so real that you could almost poke yourself anywhere and touch it. A feeling that you could do anything, make anything happen, that everything was fresh and new and you were starting all over again, and life was great and you couldn’t see any end to it—ever!
I thought about how many Springs I had enjoyed then. And now—how many more? How shall I enjoy them?
I dropped off the back of the bleachers, dropped my hotdog napkin in the trash can, and headed home. To my waiting seeds. ❖