|Long view out to Manitou Islands|
|View across orchards and hills|
|Red twig dogwood, close up|
|Beautiful fall ash leaves -- ash, traditional wood for baseball bats|
|Lake Leelanau Narrows, Thursday morning|
They look at him with laughing and exuberant faces, unwounded by his scorn. They look at him with a kind of secret and unspoken tenderness which the strange and bitter savor of his life awakes in people always. They look at him with faith, with pride, with the joy of confidence and affection which his presence stirs in every one. And as if he were the very author of their fondest hopes, as if he were the fiat, not the helpless agent, of the thing they long to see accomplished, they yell to him in their unreasoning exuberance: “All right, Ben! Give us a hit now! A single’s all we need, boy! Bring him in!” Or others, crying with the same exuberance of faith: “Strike him out, Ben! Make him fan!”
But now the crowd, sensing the electric thrill and menace of a decisive conflict, has grown still, is waiting with caught breath and pounding hearts, their eyes fixed eagerly on Ben....
The batter stands swinging his bat and grimly waiting at the plate, tense, the catcher, crouched, the umpire, bent, hands clasped behind his back, and peering forward. All of them are set now in the cold blue of that slanting shadow, except the pitcher who stands out there all alone, calm, desperate, and forsaken in his isolation....
“Oh, I remember that boy now,” the swarthy pompous-looking man suddenly broke in with a flash of recollective inspiration—“Wasn’t Ben the boy who used to stand in the windows of The Courier offices when the World Series was being played, and post the score up on the scoreboard as they phoned it in to him?”
“Yes,” wheezed Mr. Flood [the publisher of The Courier], nodding heavily, “You got him now, all right. That was Ben.”
The young man on the floor thrusts another placard into his hand. Ben takes it quickly, swiftly takes out a placard from the complicated frame of wires and rows and columns in the window (for it is before the day of the electric scoreboard, and this clumsy and complicated system whereby every strike, ball, substitution, or base hit—every possible movement and event that can occur on the field—must be indicated in this way by placards printed with the exact information, is the only one they know) and thrusts a new placard on the line in place of the one that he has just removed. A cheer, sharp, lusty, and immediate, goes up from the crowd.
|What we call popples are called aspen out West|
And instantly, there in the city’s heart, in the great stadium, and all across America, in ten thousand streets, ten thousand little towns, the crowd is breaking, flowing, lost forever! That single, silent, most intolerable loveliness is gone forever. With all its tragic, proud and waiting unity, it belongs now to the huge, the done, the indestructible fabric of the past, has moved at last out of that inscrutable maw of chance we call the future into the strange finality of dark time.
To pace again the barren avenues of night, to pass before the bulbous light of lifeless streets with half-averted faces, to pass the thousand doors, to feel again the ancient hopelessness of hope, the knowledge of despair, the faith of desolation.
|Cherry orchards are as beautiful in fall color as in springtime blossom|
|Dark clouds sometimes make bursts of sunshine look brighter|