Monday, August 20, 2012

Zen and Front Lawn Catches

My son loves to have catches. I love of have catches. Still, I find myself not wanting to have catches with him a lot of the time, even though I usually do acquiesce when he asks. The reason is as simple as the difference between two minds in two different stages of development.

If you wanted to, I would stand in my front yard or in my back yard and toss a baseball back and forth for hours on end. Nothing beats an orange evening sky, a cool/hot summer breeze, the sound of lawnmowers in the neighborhood distances and the warm crack of a baseball metronomically hitting glove leather. Nothing is more zen-like than the casual rhythm and the automatic reaction of catching the ball -- in front of the body; down at the side; scooped with a staccato da-blap from one hop on the ground.

Throwing and catching a baseball is one of my favorite meditations. But not with my son.

See, he is still gearing up to slay the dragons of the world. I'd rather sit on their backs and fly above the landscape.

He still wants to be the star on the stage. I'd rather watch, smiling, as someone else takes the accolades I helped him to achieve.

He still wants to land crippled airplanes; wander mysterious lands through forests lit up with the glowing eyes of night-creatures, and win the love of a beautiful princess. I'm comfortable in my little castle, with my queen and my two little knights-at-arms, sitting and soaking up the sweet sounds of laughter and the soft blips of a video game in the next room as I read.

My dreams have changed from those blazing my name across the nighttime sky to those of just sharing my heart and, I hope, of infusing some beauty into an ugly world -- one little drop at a time into the vast ocean of everything.

But my boy wants to send a cannonball splash up in the sky. Just like I did, when I would toss and turn with the waking dreams of boyhood.

When he and I throw the baseball, it's showtime; it's, "Dad...throw me a pop-up that I have to dive for; let's pretend it is a real game and you call balls and strikes..." It's announcements ("Matarazzo dives, rolls and...he makes the throw...the place is going wild!") of glory and it's fireworks and cheers and rolls and off-balance throws and pretend game-sevens of the World Series, bottom of the ninth and the rest.

It's exhausting. It's even agitating.

Here's hoping that, one day, when he is older, he and I will stand on the lawn throwing comfortably in beautiful, hissing white arcs, in the rhythm of summer nights; two grown men, content with each other's company and the smallness of their own presence in the universe.


  1. I loved this post. Thanks for this!

    1. Thanks, Kate Marie. I'm glad this "connected" with you in some way.