Brace yourself: this is kind of a bad story. Well, it starts off bad and then it gets good but then, it turns bad again. I’m going to tell it anyway because (a) it’s honest and (b) it involves bread (and don’t you think all stories that involve bread should be told? I do). So. I’ll start by saying, there was a week back in early January, a dark week, when I must have tried…
The night before we left for Nashville, just as I was throwing clothes into my suitcase and packing up a bag of snacks that included carrot sticks, blueberries, strawberries and granola (I know, right? party animal that I am), I got a hankering for graham crackers and then, when I clicked over to Twitter just to check in for a second, there was a link to a new post at Roost for, what else, exactly…
To write this post, I was trying to think back to a month ago, when we ate this salad, on a night when I’m almost sure there was still snow on the ground. I guess there must have been, since that was the night my friend Jackie came over for dinner, and she had to grip the stair railings to keep from falling on the ice on her way inside.
But listen to this: Tonight? I drove home with the windows down, the sun beating on me, and I actually was sweating, if you can believe it. All around me, the grass outside is totally green, there are flowers budding that look like lumps of cotton, and the skies are the perfect shade of blue.
I know I’ve said this before, but it is really spring here. Finally. And honestly, I’ve almost forgotten winter.
I think there’s a lot of value in forgetting sometimes. I mean, it’s not good to forget the story your friend told you yesterday at lunch, but it’s pretty great if you can forget the obnoxious thing that guy said to you at work. And this time of year, I am all for forgetting: forgetting the ice, the snow, the cold, the commutes. Forgetting that last time I posted about the weather getting better, it went and snowed.
As I sit at my computer tonight, I hear the rain outside, hitting the window, sloshing on pavement as cars drive by. It smells fresh, earthy, like your hands deep in soil when you’re working in the garden, yet clean, like the glassy drops of dew on grass in the morning. It reminds me this is the time of year when things green, when they begin to grow. All the storms and pounding rain bring us tulips and lilies, leaves on trees, buds on branches.
And it’s funny how, a few months ago, when I scraped ice off my car and skidded down the expressway, I didn’t believe this time would come again. At its darkest, winter was unending, hopeless—in that way, a little like life, sometimes.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking about dreams lately—the big ones we make as children, unashamedly, be they astronaut or firefighter or surgeon. Everything’s sunshine and rainstorms and possibility, then. But as we get older and things seem more difficult, it becomes easier to lose yourself to discouragement, to long, cold afternoons under blankets in bed, metaphorically or not.
Come spring, I think of the cycles of life, the beginning and ending and beginning again. And I see a precious truth that no matter how bad things can seem, they can change.
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Saturday night, I saw the San Antonio Spurs beat the Chicago Bulls, at the first professional basketball game I’ve ever attended in my life. We were in the front row, and when the Spurs players came out to warm up, they stopped to greet fans right in front of us, turning to crowds of pen-holding kids waving their arms and papers, competing for a chance to get an autograph.
Early into the night, I told my friend the red-headed guy looks like Charlie Crews from Life, and then in the game, I saw him score a lot of points. But I think it was when some fellow Chicagoan started booing him that I knew I liked Bonner (for the record, I think you sound like you’re two years old when you boo someone for playing well). Sean Elliot, such a classy guy, took a picture with my friend, who is the biggest fan of the Spurs I know, maybe the biggest fan there is. Ime Udoka chatted with some kids who made a sign for him. And Tony Parker, after speaking French to some girls who said Ça va? to him, smiled right at me, inches away.
I’m not usually one to like things immediately, but, after a night like that, you wouldn’t blame me for becoming something of a Spurs fan myself, would you?
I think the one thing I’ve discovered about basketball fans is the same thing I know about any other kind of fans, even cooking ones. Finding something you really like—that you connect with—happens rarely enough that we like to latch onto it when it does. For people who love a sports team, maybe they love the city it comes from, maybe they love the individuals who play on it, maybe they want the camaraderie of spending a Saturday night with a bunch of people, cheering for the same cause. (I’m still pretty new to this crowd, so I’m just guessing here.)