Having a Catch

The joy of a spirit is the measure of its power.

~ Ninon de Lenclos (1620 – 1705)

So yesterday I felt all kinds of depressed after watching the movie Sideways. Possible even a bit coliary. If neither of those words float your boat, my thesaurus tells me I might also have been feeling “blue, dejected, desolate, dispirited, down, downcast, downhearted, dull, dysphoric, gloomy, heavy-hearted, low, melancholic, sad, spiritless, tristful, unhappy, and wistful.”

Even though the story has a relatively happy ending, the first 100 minutes are enough to drive us moderately creative wannabe intellectuals to the nearest bottle of just about anything that will drown our sorrows. I am drawn to these types of movies, about people who hit bottom somewhere in midlife and yet eventually, almost entirely against their own misguided wishes, learn to find a grain of happiness in the smallest and most unrecognizable of circumstances. But before they do, there is the inevitable, universal impulse to throw a pity party and invite others to wallow along with them.

Leave it to Pat. Like all great callers of bullshit, she cuts beneath what seems apparent and exposes the murky underbelly. To wit, her response to yesterday’s intentionally vague post:

O, for God’s sake! Go ahead, indulge your dark side more, why don’t you? Seriously, Brian. Have you no inner radar when enough is enough? Words matter and unlike raw sewage (what I learn on blogs, I tell ya’) they don’t always float out to sea for treatment They can be more, well, more like those feminine hygiene products that clog the equipment.

Read [Bukowski] when you are back working and not a moment before.

That, my friend, is both cold water to the face and a soothing balm for the soul, conveniently wrapped in pixels.

So today I share the flip side, proof that the unrecognizable is there, awaiting the willing grasp: As a family, we recently sat down and watched Field of Dreams. Twenty years on, this movie still touches in me something that refuses to die.

We went, like the great throng winding its way through the corn at the end of the movie, to Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie was filmed, back in the late 1990s. For my part, perhaps I felt a drawing, an itch in my spirit that needed scratching. We played in the corn . . .

. . . sat on the bleachers . . .

. . . walked on the manicured outfield . . .

. . . and basked in an idyllic world so far removed from the mundane busyness of everyday life.

For a moment in time, all distractions ceased. None of them mattered. I lingered, smelling the field, soaking it all in, hoping that a portion of it all would find a fertile spot in my soul and bloom like some great perennial, upon which I could gaze for years to come, among which I could skip and play when lowering clouds broke on the horizon.

And you know what? It worked. It’s still there. I felt it, like a gentle touch from a welcomed friend, this morning . . .

. . . as me and my two youngest had a catch before they hopped on the bus. Having a catch before school has become a tradition. Amid the very real rocks and weeds, completions and fumbles and two-hand-touches, resides a metaphor, a reminder to reach out and grab that which seems to tarry just out of reach.

The field has changed, but the dream remains. I will get through this. And I choose to do it without Bukowski. He can wait until his words can be read for what they are, and not for what they may impart . . .

[photo credit]

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14 thoughts on “Having a Catch

  1. Field Of Dreams was a wonderful movie. It inspired a lot of us and continues to do so.

    I think you’ve made a wise choice in navigating without Bukowski. You’ll make it. I know you will!

    By the way, this post isn’t showing up in my reader, even after I closed it and opened it again. I had to follow a link to a previous post and navigate from within your blog. I use Google Reader.

  2. as i’ve said before, what is a roller coaster without dips? a commuter train. you’ve got to hit the lows to fully register the highs… glad you were able to pull out of this nosedive. and yes, back slowly away from the bukowski!

  3. good advice — setting bukowski aside. i love him, but there’s a time and place to indulge.

    i just love that you play catch before they go off to school — that they will remember the rest of their lives, and will treasure it.

  4. “Sideways” was a crap movie. Drove me nuts. The only reason I finished it was I figured it had to get better in some way. And then it doesn’t.

    But ‘having a catch’? That is a good thing. Just taking the time to do something simple and – largely – pointless with your family is the way I like to live my life.

  5. Ah, and here I am. I hated Field of Dreams, even in high school, when it came out. I also hated Sideways. The characters drove me crazy.

    I probably shouldn’t even reply, but, your game of catch in the morning may beat our game of let’s recheck that homework.

    I still think Bukowski is not that bad.

  6. It’s hard to imagine, but nonetheless – a thoroughly watchable film with Kevin Costner in it!

    I know – insane isn’t it, but there it is. I can only assume it’s down to James Earl Jones because ye gods was Waterworld terrible and Wyatt Earp dull.

    Don’t even mention Robin Hood: P.O.T.

    Nice to think though that the pitch for the film could still be out there somewhere – one always assumes these things are long gone

  7. I’ve gotten behind in my blog reading, but I am glad I took the time to read your Bukowski post and this one. Yes, have that catch with your kids! For me, my kids are some of the greatest “tools” I use to get over the “blues.” The kids will remember the time spent with them, and if they also happen to remember that the catches occurred when Dad was having a hard time, they will also benefit by learning some life lessons about staying positive and enjoying the simple things. Well done!

  8. I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long! I’ve been missing some amazing pieces.

    I liked “Sideways”. The first half made me uncomfortable, but ultimately, I liked it.

    Your words are beautiful here, as are the photos. Having a catch before school is the neatest thing EVER. You will get through this…

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