There is always an emptiness at the end of a season. In a way that New Year's or birthdays or anniversaries don't, the end of a year of baseball marks time. There hasn't been a forgettable year yet, though I've begun to find the oldest ones beginning to blur together.
This year, the Yankees have marked so many endings: for Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte; for their recent four year run of playoff berths; for the unconditional commitment of ownership to field a dominant team. Meanwhile, I've marked so many beginnings: mainly, that my wife and I bought a house; my re-dedication to my poetry and the acceptance of a couple of my poems; a couple of projects, like my woodworking, that I hope begin a way of life. But I'm winterizing that house, and re-arranging the garage to store my summer toys, and having just marked the fall equinox, spring has never been farther way.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops....
Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.