Homage to April: Weather, Poetry, and Baseball
Early April in the South is the most inconstant of months. The weather is a continual surprise with its variety. Impetuous folks set out their bedding plants on the summer-like days only to rush out with blankets and tarps a day later when the thermometer takes a nose-dive. One day it rains as if a new Noah is rushing to fulfill a building order followed by a brilliantly sunny day with enough breeze to carry away small dogs and children.
Nope, April is not known for its predictable weather. The only thing you can count on is change. Don’t make concrete plans if the activity depends on environmental conditions. However mutable the elements, April possesses two reliable constants: National Poetry Month and the beginning of baseball season.
As a word nerd, I am of course, a lover of poetry. It was my introduction into the intoxicating world of writing at age eight. A poem I created ended up posted on the bulletin board in the front hall of my elementary school and I was hooked. I wrote a lot of poems during childhood and adolescence , but I eventually realized that my skills were more suited to fiction. I do not write much poetry any longer, but after grappling with it for so long, I can appreciate the work, imagination, and talent that goes into making a good poem.
I do enjoy reading poetry and hearing it shared aloud by an accomplished and experienced reader. In the right hands a poem can sound like music. Garrison Keillor, on his site, The Writer’s Almanac, shares a poem each day. I love listening to the poems in his mellifluous voice. I recommend you check it out. I will have more to say about National Poetry Month and poetry in general in a future post.
Now to baseball.
To find out if someone you know is a baseball fan, mention the phrase “It’s almost Opening Day”. You will get either a blank look or a grin of epic proportions. For baseball fans, anticipating Opening Day is like waiting for Christmas. We count the days, know exactly when catchers and pitchers report, check the scores daily from the Spring Training leagues, and wait. Finally, on the first Monday of April, the day arrives and for 6 months there is bliss. You have teams to cheer for and against, players to follow, and stats to monitor.
I like baseball for its pace, the firm parameters of 9 innings, 3 outs, 3 strikes, and the fact that each player has an opportunity to contribute to the offense. While the players win or lose as part of a team, each man has to stand alone at the plate and in his position and is therefore accountable for his efforts.
While there’s nothing like watching baseball on the patio on a cool evening, going in person is even better. My husband and I have traveled to many cities around the country to catch games and have a goal of making it to every stadium. For now, since our city does not have a Major League team, we have season tickets to the Charlotte Knights AAA games. Tonight is their home opener and I will be there, keeping a scorebook and enjoying the murmur of the crowd, the crack of the bats, and the calls of the vendors, all of which will lull me into a feeling of Zen-like contentment.
Play ball! But, remember it’s April and take a sweatshirt and poncho along just in case.