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I’m not much of a sports fan. I generally like football, but only my own team (go Broncos), though I’m not sure I would had my Father not been a fan. We were season ticketholders at Duke Blue Devil football games throughout my growing up. I remember the man who sat with his family behind us for all those years looked a little bit like Jack Kennedy. But this isn’t about football. This is about baseball.

I learned about baseball at the Durham Bull’s ballpark (featured in the movie Bull Durham), on summer nights when I was a teenager. I would go with friends or with a hipster boy named Charlie who had slightly buck teeth, and always wore a string tie and cowboy boots, and who tried so hard (but failed) to win more than my friendship. Nights at that ballpark were perfect, all the way from the splintered bench seats, to the hot dogs, to the decades-old bull art piece on the side of the neighboring building, whose tail would raise and whose nostrils would blow smoke when it was hit by a home run. It was soft and warm and bright and buggy and felt like everyone there was family.

Even if you’re not a rabid fan, last night’s final World Series game was an amazing nail-biter with the best possible ending (sorry, Indians fans). I’ve been to Wrigley Field a few times to watch the Chicago Cubs, and I love the team, since I do tend to root for the underdog, which it seemed the Cubs always were. Not so now. Their first World Series win in 108 years. I hope the ancient fan in Chicago who was in the news didn’t have a heart attack – or if he did, that he died happy at the end of the game. Here in my little neighborhood in Colorado, people were setting off fireworks. My social media friends across the country were on tenterhooks, all of us, together. It was, I think everyone could agree, a truly great game.

Since the 1830s, Americans have played, watched, wept, and cheered as this sport that evolved to its current place in the history of our culture. It has touched fashion, film, food, art, and literature. In fact, one of my favorite books is called “If I Never Get Back,” and combines time travel with baseball. What could be better?

In a time of dangerous division within our country, last night, our politics really didn’t matter. It was a wonderful feeling to share the experience of watching “America’s game” with the rest of America.

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Chicago, Illinois.

Quote of the day: “Baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple. Within the baselines anything can happen. Tides can reverse; oceans can open. That’s why they say, “the game is never over until the last man is out.” Colors can change, lives can alter, anything is possible in this gentle, flawless, loving game.” – W.P. Kinsella

Daily gratitudes:
The man who plays the guitar at lunch at Potbelly
A beautiful day
Seeing MKL
Good moods
My flu shot (let’s hope I stay grateful for that)

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Today’s guest poet: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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[Portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning by William Charles Ross]

Sonnet XXII: When Our Two Souls Stand Up

When our two souls stand up erect and strong,
Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
Until the lengthening wings break into fire
At either curvèd point,–what bitter wrong
Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
Be here contented? Think. In mounting higher,
The angels would press on us and aspire
To drop some golden orb of perfect song
Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay
Rather on earth, Belovèd,–where the unfit
Contrarious moods of men recoil away
And isolate pure spirits, and permit
A place to stand and love in for a day,
With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.

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I spend some time alone these days, and that’s a good thing. I think everyone should spend some time alone.

Alone being a positive is so different from where I was one year ago, eighteen months ago.  Back then, in those dark days, I was lonely and heartbroken.  Being alone reminded me of how I’d been rejected, dumped, forsaken, cast aside. And now I know that I was lied to as well, lied to for a long time. I was delusional about my present and my future. Those days were horrible, and I forced myself to make huge changes, to restart my life, although I felt like a zombie.

Now, all is different. It is as if I am living under a new sun. A new love is a huge part of this, but there are other parts as well.  A willingness to look closer at the choices I made, to let go of the things that were holding me back like silken tethers. A good therapist.  A way of looking at the world through eyes of gratefulness and beauty, noticing the small moments in life that make me smile and feel joy and peace.

Alone time now is a mishmash of a blessing. When I am not with MKL, I miss him. But missing him can make being with him that much sweeter. And being alone with myself, my words, my thoughts, my cat, my house, ensures that I remain the me that he fell in love with – and that I fell in love with as I prepared myself to meet him.

I do not think that I will “end up” alone. In fact, my increased faith in myself, the power of the love of the universe have convinced me that none of us end up alone, even if we pass through periods of this life by ourselves. Alone now is not a bad thing.  Lonely is a little different, but both are states that can change with strength, desire, and intention.

Disclaimer: I feel this way right now. Right now, I am not in the throes of my depression. When I am again in its vile, lying, loathsome clutches, remind me that I said this. During those bouts, hope and faith are both elusive and seeming illusions.

I went searching for a synonym for alone the other day, and do you know what I found? There are barely two or three synonyms for alone that do not imply a state of sadness, emotional/spiritual poverty, depression, or abandonment. I thought that was fascinating.

Most of these synonyms flowed along the lines of isolated, lonesome, discarded, cut off, friendless. You get the picture, I’m sure. But like a miniature lighthouse, one synonym stood out as a beacon: free.

Free.

What a wonderful concept to associate with being alone. Free to choose the company of others. Unburdened by baggage. That is how I feel now.

Beautifully together, and beautifully alone.

Today’s guest poet  —  Rumi

A moment of happiness,
you and I, sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden’s beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.

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