Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Great Elixir

In spite of the fact that in the past four weeks 'NTSG we have been visited by an amount of snow last seen in these parts during the glory days of the boys from Medellin (an era in which the term "snowblower" took on a different meaning entirely), I can feel spring's approach. This morning, for the first time in who knows how long I was able to get in my running outside. I know not where it falls upon the masochism continuum but there are few things that make me happier than the feeling of really cold, bracing air in my face as I do my wee small hours of the morning routine. Between the snow and the resultant less than ideal road conditions, it had been quite some time since I had felt it. It was nice to feel more like a runner than a lab rat today......even if was for just a little while.

I turned 43 just about one month ago and on that glorious occasion (note the use of the lower case "g" and "o" - I felt compelled to point that out because sarcasm is not always as obvious to the eye of the reader as it is to the hand of the writer) my assistant T bought me a reflective vest to use when I run through the neighborhood prior to sunrise. This morning was the first time I have had the chance to wear it. Sadly, given its color and my body type I suppose my uncanny resemblance to a certain TV pitchman was unavoidable. The advantage to running very, very early in the morning - other than it helps develop a tolerance to the cold - is that Rosie and her feline sidekicks are the only ones who shall see me in it (other than the adult of indeterminate age who careens through the neighborhood in his (or her) car delivering The Courier-News). I know she and they are laughing but since they do it in a language I cannot comprehend, I am inclined to let it go.

Springtime's arrival looms straight ahead I know because I have received the annual organizational e-mail from the fearless leader of our softball team about the upcoming season. When we were young, Diego used to circulate the e-mail to assess the interest last year's team members had in participating during the upcoming season. Now he does so to assess our physical ability to participate. By the end of this season, I think I will be in the place where I almost ended up at last season's end, which is deciding that I had played my last season as a full-time member of our team. But in the heady days of early March, when the days are beginning to lengthen out and the mercury has not yet risen to the neighborhood where stifling and suffocating live side-by-side, the promise of the season ahead is almost intoxicating. If my ability to play softball matched my enthusiasm, then I would rank it ahead of my wrestling prowess. It does not so it shares a lofty perch with wrestling in the pantheon of activities I do not very well at all. I do get put in far fewer cradles now playing softball than I did when I wrestled, which given the creaky condition of my knees does count for something.

I will worry about next season at some point after the conclusion of this one. Time is short enough for us humans without fast forwarding through the fun stuff; right? Soon enough I will be confronted with a Spring that does not herald the arrival of softball. Whether due to the fact that I have grown too old to be able to play or whether the ever-growing children of my younger teammates have grown too old to permit their dads to be able to do so, that day is out there on the horizon line coming ever more into focus every year. I know that some day the image will be too well-defined to ignore. That day has not yet arrived.

But March has arrived. March brings with it the promise of warmth. Warmth fueled by the sun. And the joy of spending just one more moment in it.

-AK

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