Spring is promise.
Some of life’s best things – baseball, tulips and cold, rainy days perfect for crappie fishing – come in the spring.
It must be a sign of the passing of years that one day you notice promise comes with certain weariness and even wariness.
Tulips only last so long. Your favorite baseball team will have that championship season now and then, but the players and coaches and teams in whom we invest way too much emotional energy will more often find a hundred ways to disappoint us.
And crappie fishing is not the same as crappie catching.
So, to battle the weariness, we have to learn a new life skill: Embrace promises lightly. Enjoy what’s here today.
Tulips have a season, and then peonies have their moment and then – wow – it’s just about is time to get the marigolds and vinca in the ground.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Go look at the tulips today. Who knows if an afternoon of wind won’t tear them up by sundown?
I’m trying very hard not to lean too heavily into the if-this-then-that scenarios that put the Royals in the World Series. It’s only May.
What we have in front of us is fine young team, built the right way. The pitching is superb, and the defense is a joy to watch. Yes, the point is to win, but baseball’s season is so wondrously long and the game full of so many subtleties that just tuning in night after night brings new and unexpected rewards.
Is there an October promise? I hope so, but let’s enjoy the journey first.
And then fishing. This is the great philosophical question I’ve struggled with for half a century: Is the joy in the catching or just being out in the sun and water and wind and rain? As a friend once said, I’ve caught enough fish to not enjoy the times I don’t catch fish.
I say yes and no to that. I’ve hopped back and forth across this divide many times over the years. A lot of it depends on attitude and mood, and we are all more subject to the whims of mood than we might care to admit.
Let’s set up four quadrants: Perfect weather, lots of fish – that’s a great day. Lousy weather, no fish – not so good. Perfect weather, no fish – still possibly a very pleasant day.
And brutal conditions but plenty of fish? Well, that’s a fish story, of course. Pull up a chair. I’ve got lots.
Of course, all of these come down to how you approach, well, life. If your happiness depends on catching your limit – or winning the pennant – then you’re set up for disappointment. Still, everyone deserves to catch their limit and brag shamelessly once in a while.
Spring is promise, but promise is fragile. We live in hope, however fleeting.
Follow Jeff Fox on Twitter @Jeff_Fox or @FoxEJC.