Eternal, spring

“You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” – Jim Bouton

Life is a scorecard; an encrypted story in exotic-to-the-unwashed hieroglyphs, easily, quickly translated by those versed in the language. We can excitedly, precisely interpret the detailed story. The story of our life.

I’ve been told – more often than I can count – to take a walk.

I have sacrificed.

Took lots of pitches and touched all the bases. Made it to a few when I probably shouldn’t have, gotten thrown out when I tried to take an extra one…

and often experienced the thrill of sliding in safe.

I have played the field and struck out in love. My ears have echoed with the cheers of the crowd and have felt the sting of their boos.

I have made my share of errors.

There are times when I have been left stranded, others when I have been benched. I have been shelled, and pulled for a reliever who could close out what I started, could not finish.

I have made more than a few long, slow walks back to the dugout.

Ah, but the home runs have been sweetly plentiful.

I loved the game and life – and it returned the favor far more often than it could let me down. Oh, a few pennant races broke my heart – but isn’t that life in a nut shell?

I’ve had good winning streaks, taken a few tough losses to heart.

There have been brush-backs, bean balls and I’ve thrown and been thrown more than a few curves in my day.

Hurled a few biting changeups of my own, too. Others will tell you there are times when I’ve been a real screwball.

Sometimes I’ve had to play hardball. I have usually won.

I have been thrown out, tagged out, shut out.

I have balked.

I have loved the game – my life – it has returned the favor.
Now, the grass is greener than ever, lush and rich; the sky is always a vivid blue. In my mind I can always I feel the breeze on my face, breathe in the aroma of oiled, old leather, hear the distant crack of solid horsehide colliding with polished ash.

Someday I’ll be rounding third and headed for home, with someone waving me on. I’ll know then as I do now that it’s been a grand and glorious event, an extra-innings affair to remember; a ninth-inning grand slam.

Walk-off win.

It’s hopefully a long time before I need to come out of the game, many years before I’ll need a curtain call to acknowledge the home crowd, tip my hat and then disappear, headed for the clubhouse to hang up my gear for the last time.

Not now, not today.

It is spring again.

Hope, potential, promise fill the air, a game has yet to be lost.

A long, blissful summer awaits. There will be highlights and losing streaks, rainouts and glorious days you’ll hope will not end. For now, the joy is in simply taking the field again.

As Ernie Banks always says, “It’s a great day to play two!”

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2017
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

High church

baseball-1957-clevelandAwed by the spectacle
blissfully confused to meaning
wide-eyed youth
confirmed in mystical faith
spiritual pageantry
standing for opening homily,
crowd vibrant, then bowed
reverence, singing along
opening hymn of allegiance
some know the words

Opening day, paradoxically
given all the answers
yet you need to discover
unending myriad of questions
finding your own way home

you tried discernment
unsure, wavering, exasperated
still loyal; the true believernicolletpark

Then came one
still sweetly recalled summer
prayerfully answering the call,
taking final vows,
when, in seven
yours won it all.

Long ago ordained, now
consecrated regular – your
stately, charismatic garments
proudly sweat-blotched, faded
bent-brimmed woolen miter
adornment off-kilter

presiding from
sun-soaked choir box-pew,ebbets-field2
lead provocateur –
sitting, standing, exultantly
cheering ‘Hallelujah!’
(modern translation)

Plastic chalice,
ice-cold communion potable
condiment-slathered
tubular unity bread
feeds heart, soul, head

Eucharistic celebration
pipe organ crescendos
punctuate ingrained,
ever-differing liturgy
opportunisticallyvintage-baseball
engaging homily played out

congregants alternately
stand in joyful anticipation,
sit in veneration, anguish

Ritualistic, solemn,
sacramental. Reverential.

True faith comes when
exuberance, not feigned,
reverberates, message lingers
long after you exit the temple
crossing the white lines drawn
on vibrant green
lessons ingrained
personal parables formulated

allowing you to be in the world,
of the world. Baseball.

Amen.
“Play ball!”

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2016
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd