Sunday, October 30, 2011

The show.

This week felt like a long, very busy one, but we found time to watch the World Series. I can't remember how long it's been since I watched baseball--maybe that series in 2001, right after September 11. I was in an artists' colony in Vermont. There were a host of New Yorkers who made the argument that it would be so important for the Yankees to win--it would lift the spirits of the city. Churlishly, I did not agree, though I mostly kept that sentiment to myself, I hope. I remember being taken by the freakishly long-bodied Randy Johnson, who threw like some kind of ancient raptor (that's how I thought of it, in any case), and I was stony-hearted against the charms of young Derek Jeter.

The historian has always tracked the Cardinals, if he is not an active fan. That's because his favorite player ever is Stan "the Man" Musial, who was a great player to be sure and also "a good lefty," as the leftist-and-a-half historian likes to point out. So we were, of course, rooting for the Cards. It was fun to watch, for me, since I had really no stake whatsoever in the game, and nonetheless a team to root for. In sports, there's not much more beautiful than a great pitcher hurling the ball, than a great hitter settling into his stance, then connecting with the ball. That sound is a wonderful sound (much like the sound of a basketball going through a net--heaven.). And I have a special admiration for a great fielder--the absolute attention he gives to the ball arcing toward him, the way he moves to be under it, the stillness just before the ball hits the pocket of a glove, or the lateral dive to snatch it before it hits the ground. And I love feeling the vicarious elation of a winning team, and more, a winning town, since St. Louis clearly loves that team; simultaneously, I find it a little heart-rending to see the dejection of the losing team. It's a great spectacle. I was glad to reconnect with it.

This weekend, after something of a movie hiatus--several weekends with illness, more illness, social engagements, fall break--we saw a double-header, 50/50 and The Rum Diary. (In between, in case you're wondering, there was curry.) There was no good reason to see The Rum Diary, and the reasons we did see it can be summed up by the names of movie stars, and also the fact that it was at the same theater in which we saw 50/50, and we wanted to see two movies. Back to the movie stars: honestly, it wasn't the acting that did this movie in--it was a story that begged to be told with more verve and brevity, and instead it was made with slog and long-ass-ery. Sad. But not that sad. Again, no stake in it. It was a movie. Although it must be admitted that one of us turned to the other at about the three-quarters mark and said, "Is this long?" Okay, it was me. Point being, I don't know how long the movie actually was, but it felt long.

But 50/50 was actually not half bad. In fact, I would say it was pretty good, and very good if you minus out an unnecessary romance. There were passages in this movie when I wept (big surprise)--cancer is scary, more scary in real life than in movies, and there was a lot of this movie that got that scariness pretty close to right, both the historian and I agreed. The movie also got this right: that we have the chance to show up for each other in all kinds of ways. That it's worth it, both the showing up and the noticing.

This week, I have been thinking about how hard it is to pay attention to what is there, right in front of us. For a month now, we have had one car between us, and there are moments when what feels like dependency and constrained mobility and, you know, lack of freedom has grated sorely on not just my nerves but my sense of self. It has felt so trying to me. But it's also the kind of thing that makes me ask myself: it's a car, so what? You can't stop at the store on the way home, you don't have that buffer of solitude between home and work, between work and home. Can't you just adjust?

My daughter, on her blog, wrote this week about longing for something missing. But ultimately, she finds, what she has is enough: ultimately, she says, "I do not want to spend my days longing."

I have been thinking about her words during these golden autumn days, days so blessedly beautiful, full of light and warmth and a splendid chill in the mornings and evenings. This morning we planted tulip and daffodil bulbs together. We took Bruiser to the playground for a romp. I made us oatmeal. I want try harder to just be there for whatever fills these days, for all the days we--all of us, beloveds and friends--have together.


  1. Thanks for this post. Especially today.

  2. Thank you for the words of inspiration. It is a beautiful thing to "just be there for whatever fills these days." I think my life could use that as well. May I join you on this quest?

  3. Yes. Especially this time of year, I'm all, "notice the light, notice the hillside, enjoy travelling unencumbered by thick coats and snowy roads." Notice. Pay attention. Appreciate. It's going away . . . But I wonder if it's kind of like recovering from a horrible sickness and saying, "I will never take anything for granted again. I will live every day as if it were my last." Is that even possible? Maybe Days Spent Longing = Days Spent Being Human? I don't know. Still. Get that pumpkin spice latte while you may.

  4. Lisa, I loved this. I hardly read anyone's blogs anymore because of the way time just doesn't stretch but I always have to swoop in and read what I've missed of yours.

    And your banner for November-- divine.



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