Playing baseball on Sunday afternoons until the sky turned red and the shadows disappeared. Until my arm ached from hundreds and hundreds of tosses (forget pitch counts) and my legs tired from all the running. Until dirt stained my socks and sweat softened the bill of my cap.
I remember laughing for no reason and shouting for fun. Chasing ground balls and fly balls and bugs and just about anything else that was deemed worth chasing.
I think about diving into the grass over and over again, trying wholeheartedly to snag pop-ups that fell just out of reach. It wasn’t about the catch; it was about the leap and the fall. It was about the cushion that the cool, green earth somehow provided. That feeling of hitting the ground and caring about nothing else in the world besides getting up and doing it again.
These were nights when my biggest concern was making sure my homework got done. A set of math problems, a few lines of cursive, a book report on Maniac Magee, reproduced to the ignorance of my teachers on multiple occasions.
In the background, light standards would hum with electricity, their buzz commingling with the shrieks and yelps of those of us too young to worry about staying quiet for any amount of time.
The air would grow increasingly crisp as the hours wore on, the scent of a grill permeating the twilight, calling us to dinner without a word being uttered. We only ate when the playing stopped; barbecue in the springtime had a way of stopping the playing.
We would fight over nothing, make up minutes later after shoving and pouting, then return to the vagary of turning sticks into swords and trees into enemies.
These are the nights when I think about my memories here, all located in one neat little area of the map that sits between mountains and surrounds a sound. This is the one place on the globe that my spring nights are consistent, dating back forever and ever — or nearly three decades, if counting is a must.
See, when tomorrow hits and Monday morning lands squarely upon our calendars, we’ll go back to being adults. Our issues will center around work and finances and all sorts of varying realities. When it comes to sports, we’ll fret over a struggling Mariners squad and the fortunes of the NBA in this town of ours. We’ll agonize over so many things we can’t control and turn the littlest issues into the biggest deals. All of that will happen and we’ll accept it, because it’s who we are now.
But for today, for tonight, for every seemingly perfect spring evening that passes through this haven we call home, we can be young again. Enjoy the innocence.