inters are tough for me. Or, at least they have been for maybe about 10 years. I’ve tried lamps that simulate the sunrise. I’ve tried medication. I’ve tried Vitamin D pills. They’re just… hard. The grey skies. The cold temperatures. Being stuck inside. Winters are tough.
I’ve always been fascinated by the swallows that return to Capistrano at the same time of the year – early March. Something hard wired in these birds tells them, it’s time to come home, and there they nest.
In mid-February, nearly every year, there’s a deceptively warm day where the winds shift from the north to out of the south. The temperature reaches maybe 55 or 60 degrees and it’s enough to blow away the grey blanket that has covered our city for months. That’s the day Spring starts for me. I wake up a little earlier. I have a little more pep in my step, and I typically climb out of my winter funk. My body is hard-wired for Spring. My heart returns to Capistrano on that 60 degree day in February each year.
As it was this year about the same time that Major League pitchers and catchers return to Spring Training in Arizona and Florida. I was having a harder time this winter than most. Work was taxing, and my recently rebuilt knee still wasn’t quite healed, forcing me to lay off physical activity. But there was that 60 degree day. It didn’t matter if it was followed by two more weeks in the 30’s (it was.) All my body needed was to feel that southerly breeze again and -snap- I’m nesting in Capistrano.
Everything was set. I had purchased some really nice Opening Day tickets from a friend. I was lining up time off to make sure I saw all of my son’s varsity baseball games – he made varsity for the first time. The team was even preseason favorites to win their conference for the first time in over a decade. I come from a baseball family, and that’s likely why my body begins to charge for Spring. If I’m not watching or at a Royals game, I’m at my kid’s game. Or I’m umpiring. Or I’m supervising at the baseball fields. If I’m at home on a rare night and the Royals are stinking, I’ll turn on a college game. From March 1 to Halloween, 95% of my nights are filled with some kind of baseball. I have always been safer at home plate, than safer at home.
Two days after the winds shifted from the south, the announcement was made that MLB was stopping Spring Training. Two days after that, the high school sports season was paused when the schools were shuttered and sent online. College baseball. Little League. All shut down. It was as if the swallows returned and David Copperfield waved his hand and Capistrano vanished in thin air.
What does a swallow do when there is no Capistrano to return to?
(Get more thoughts from Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is @TheFakeNed, on Landmark Live at Platte County Landmark on Facebook, or on YouTube at the new YouTube channel for Platte County Landmark)