As we enter the spring season there are a lot of things on my mind. Below is a list of just a few that occupy my thoughts these days.
Baseball is Back
The rhythm of my life is largely dictated by seasonal sports. Opening day of the major league baseball season is essentially a holiday and in my mind signals the start of spring. The daily dose of baseball on the radio or TV becomes the soundtrack to my spring and summer days. It’s a comfortable companion. What makes the 2021 MLB season even more impactful is the oddness of the 2020 season, cut short by the pandemic. Last season was shortened to sixty games without fans and all seemed very contrived, odd, and stressful. I was happy to have sports at all last year, but it was certainly an odd experience as a fan. I’m glad to have the normal rhythm of the baseball season back upon us as the season starts. Having fans in the stands is also a comforting sight and brings me hope that things will soon be back to ‘normal’.
After a long, cold winter in Chicago the recent warm weather has me energized. I think most mid-westerner’s know the feeling. The first few days when the sun is shining and the temps creep into the 50’s there’s an extra pep in your step. All at once you have inspiration to do all sorts of things; go for a bike ride, throw some meat on the grill, crack a beer and sit on the patio, or go for a drive with the top down. The grayness of winter is in the rear view and the landscape comes to life. Daffodils and tulips emerge from a long winter’s nap, crabapples start to bud and bloom, and the grass turns green. This spring in particular, I feel more hopeful than ever and more thankful for the simple things. Spring 2020 was spent mostly indoors and was partnered with a lot of fear. The return of spring in 21′ feels much more optimistic.
The Smoky Mountains
In a few weeks, my brother and I will be camping and hiking in the Smoky Mountains. I’ve never spent time in the Smokies, only driven through them on the way to somewhere else. I’m incredibly excited to take a road trip. I haven’t been anywhere other than my apartment, work, or my parent’s house since November of 2019. I’m also looking forward to spending some quality time with my brother. As we get older and more responsibilities of life add up, we have less time to hang out. A few days of camping, hiking, and nature will do us some good. I’m also excited to dig out the camping gear. After a long winter, I can put my tent, hammock, Coleman grill, and other favorites back to work all while nestled in the Smoky Mountains.
Similar to the opening day of the baseball season, the weekend of the Masters Tournament always signals spring’s arrival. Throughout the year, I will occasionally watch golf on TV. Usually it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon spent on the couch flipping channels and landing on some tournament being played in California or Florida accompanied by a ‘golf nap’. Literally just napping on the couch while the calm tone of the announcers carries on in the background. I don’t set aside time to watch any other tournament than the Masters. There’s just some kind of magic that draws me in. Augusta National is simply stunning with the towering pine trees, rolling green hills, and azaleas in bloom. Visiting the course one day is on my bucket list. You can also tell the Masters weekend is special to the players, spectators, and commentators. Jim Nantz is in all his glory over the course of the four days. Lastly, it’s the Masters music that really puts me in a happy place. The simple piano verse that plays at the opening of each segment after a commercial break just makes me calm and wistful. There’s certainly a romantic energy that comes to life during Masters Week and I’m here for it.