"Go the distance . . ."
Synchronicity is not always an instantaneous experience. Perhaps the most magical moments of all are best savored through the clarity of time. How I couldn't see the symbolic significance of what transpired last Sunday, I really have no idea, yet in a way it makes the moment even better.
It has been a long time since I have enjoyed any sort of game with my older brothers. Two of us arrived at the Denver stadium on Sunday, preparing for a special tour, just to see the third parked seemingly in the middle of nowhere far, far across the parking lot. We didn't have cell phones in the old days, but we do now, so of course I called to find out what the heck was going on. My brother beckoned us to come. When we arrived at his car, he pointed to a small pentagon shape very roughly painted on the asphalt (as if by a clever vandal), right in the middle of a parking space.
"This was home plate," he said.
And then it all made sense. We were standing on sacred ground. Home plate of the old Bears Stadium (which later became the famous Mile High).
"If you build it, he will come . . ."
Just about everyone growing up in Denver in the 60's and 70's had a chance to see the Denver Bears in action, our minor league baseball team. It was an inexpensive night out, even for the biggest of families, and the fireworks nights were especially good. I can remember many a night in those stands, not always in our seats, as in those days, we were freely allowed to wander around the stadium and play on all the ramps, usually with neighbor kids in tow. Our Dad (an avid baseball fan who passed away last year) loved to go just as much as we did. While standing there in that spot, I wish I could say it all appeared before my eyes, but only later did I fully comprehend the scene.
My brother pulled out a bat and some mitts and a ball. "I brought my mitt from Cub Scouts too," handing me a glove way too small for any hand of an adult. It was sacred ground after all, every item in the magic of this space forever changed across time.
And so we played (or at least pretended to do so), best we could in the middle of a parking lot, mostly for the camera.
One of my brothers blogged later that Mickey Mantle had stood in that very spot, along with other greats. But I wasn't really thinking of the greats in that moment. I was thinking of the joy and the wonder only a child can know (yet apparently, we can too). And since I was temporarily the imaginary catcher, I was also thinking of my knees! (Not quite the same as in my childhood...)
We only had a few minutes, and soon enough, it was time for the stadium tour of today, where technology enhances the magic now - instead of mere imagination. When we mentioned our visit to home plate to the tour guide, he smiled and said we were not the first to bring bats and balls to that spot - apparently entire families have been seen out there, in that space between time.
And that was pretty much that. Until the next day...
"Ease his pain..."
How could I have missed it? It was the Field of Dreams. Not everyone could see the field. Most would say it is a parking lot. Not everyone could see the ghosts of players and fathers past. The stands were all around us. It already was built. Bears Stadium (and the old Mile High) existed - as real across time as real can be. The greats and the rookies and the fathers existed too in that space, along with the laughter of the children.
Many things can be real if we choose to finally see.
A long time ago, I heard a voice in the middle of a Kansas night and started on a journey. It took me away from many things - my home, my career, my life as I knew it. I plowed over "my corn" and took to the road. There were those who doubted, those who questioned. There are those who question still. I became as stubborn and committed to the path as Ray Kinsella in his van, the destination difficult to see. There have been many signs along the way, fellow travelers too, even an author and a doc or two. The playing field appears. The lights beckon in the night. The visitors approach. More and more begin to see. Laughter can be heard upon the wind.
And now it's time to go the distance, for the journey leads to Home.