Opening (noun) 1. the act of beginning; start or commencement 2. an opportunity; chance. --Random House Dictionary
“You look forward to [Opening Day] like a birthday party when you're a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” --Joe DiMaggio
So what did all of us wake up to on the second day of spring, 2011? Snow. Heavy, wet, sloppy snow. A white goopy blanket descending from slate gray cloudy skies, threatening to cover the courageous green shoots in the front yard, to bury the delicate flowers which have pushed up and out of the cold, winter hard ground. Thought the snow is melting on most of the surfaces here in the Boston area, friends in western Massachusetts report they’ve already got three inches and counting.
So what did all of us wake up to on the second day of spring, 2011? A seeming storm of bad news too, a blizzard of headlines talking of a world gone a bit crazy, chaotic even. Earthquake. Tsunami. Nuclear meltdown. A new war in Libya. Revolutions raging in the rest of Middle East. An economy which seems to get sidetracked every time it begins to try and sprint again. $100 dollar a barrel oil. Home prices at their lowest levels since 2002. A federal government weeks away from a total shut down if our toddler-like bickering leaders can’t agree.
Whew! But guess what? Fifteen days and counting to Opening Day at Fenway Park! That’s right, just 15 days. 360 hours give or take. Even better this year’s home opener is against the New York Yankees and is a rare weekday afternoon game, Friday, April 8th, first pitch 2 pm. Though early April weather in New England can produce anything from a rainy downpour to a freeze out, I’m imagining blue skies and warm spring breezes for that day. Say sixty degrees or so, still nippy enough to remind us that summer isn’t quite here yet, but balmy enough to give us hope for the warmth which is on the way.
Opening Day. Here’s the truth. There is little or anything you or I can do about all the worldly wackiness and wildness that is happening right now. We can pray for peace and recovery, and so we should. We can donate funds to our brothers and sisters in Japan and so we should too. A third war for America to fight? This morning as I write I’m not quite sure about the wisdom of entering into a prolonged bar room brawl with the craziest of crazy dictators like Muammar Gaddafi. The economy and the markets? My pension portfolio has been through such a roller coaster ride these past few weeks I’m getting motion sickness.
But this I can do. Anticipate spring and all that accompanies this sweetest of seasons. I can envision sitting myself down in a seat at Fenway Park and taking my first bite out of the first hot dog of the season, the tang of the mustard dancing on my tongue. I can see myself standing at attention, hat over heart and belting out the national anthem with gusto. I can look forward to opening up The Boston Globe each morning and turning straight to the sports section to read about what the Old Town team is up too. I can be spring in a way, even if winter tries its best to hold on for dear life, to hang on for a few more weeks. Weather wise and worldly wise.
Opening Day. Baseball in New England. Hope. Spring. What ritual will you return to as a sacred reminder that spring is coming? What is your Opening Day? Turning a spade full of dirt over in the garden for the first time. Getting on the bike and pedaling away for miles and miles. Dusting off the clubs and playing eighteen. Visiting the local ice cream stand for your first April cone. Storing away bulky sweaters and opening up the windows for a fresh and sweet breeze.
In all of these ways we participate in the renewal of life. We thank our God for the miracle of spring and rebirth and then push back the snow, no matter how hard it tries to stick around. As the songwriter Amanda McBroom wrote and Bette Midler sang, “Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows, lies the seed, that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose.”
Opening Day. It is on the way, no matter what. Play ball!