Carysbrook Batting Cage

This is the batting cage at Carysbrook baseball field—a small community in Fluvanna County where we live—and where Little League ball is played. I remember sitting in lawn chairs by the first baseline a few hundred feet away from the cage—watching my son and his friends play ball many times.

I love those memories. I guess the last time he played was 7 or 8 years ago—he would have been 14 or 15—he’s now 22 and a senior at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

You always hear people say, “They grow up so fast—one day they’re little kids, the next day they’re going off to college or the military.”

That’s nonsense. Time doesn’t pass any differently when our kids are growing up than it does afterwards. It’s only in retrospect it seems like it was a short time because (for most people) life in general passes much too quickly. The birth of a child and the child’s leaving home are enormous milestones in people’s lives so when the second one happens and you look back to the first, the time between seems compressed. When you hit old age it seems to go even faster. I’ve read interviews with people at the end of their lives and most of them say their entire lives blew by in a blur.

I’m old now—at least my body is. So as I get closer to the end of my years in this world it seems to me it all boils down to memories—and how you feel about those memories.

When I think about watching my son play baseball or soccer or my daughter cheer or ride horses, I feel pretty good about how I spent those years. I feel like I did some things right. I can’t imagine spending them any other way.

So the cage netting in the snow—for me—is a gratifying, if melancholy metaphor for the years past. The netting is life, which cannot hold—or even slow the passing of—a single moment.

But it can hold memories. The snow of course is the end of days—the last season—the final inning.

But it’s no big deal—the snow will melt.

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