Hey everyone. I'm writing this post from Santiago, Chile in an attempt to create the southernmost post in VEB history. If my heart was really in it, I would have written it a few days ago in Patagonia, but sitting down to write feels very much against the nature of the wilderness there. In any case, I just have two quick thoughts for you on this lovely morning, and then I'll leave you to the rest of your gift purchasing and college football watching day.
First, if you ever get a chance to take a trip to Chile, do it. This is my first time here-- my wife and I decided to spend a week in the Atacama Desert and a week in Patagonia for our honeymoon. The natural beauty all across the county (and I do mean all across; the driving distance between the two places we stayed would have been 50 hours) is absolutely breathtaking. I'll be landing back in the US as this post goes up, and I'm already sad to be leaving. I honestly have a tough time comparing it to other national parks, but imagine a cross between Glacier and Yellowstone and you can get somewhat close to Torres del Paine, the park in Patagonia we stayed near. As for the desert, I literally have nothing in my mental catalog to compare it to.
Second, I should really bring this back to baseball for a second. I had a lot of time to reflect these past two weeks, as we spent most of our days hiking. I realized that one of my favorite things about the way I experience baseball is very similar to one of my favorite things about hiking. When I watch a baseball game, there's a comfortable familiarity to it that helps to calm my brain. I'm not really watching for the outcome most of the time, playoffs and key games aside. I'm watching for the time between pitches, the timeless and soothing rhythm of the sounds and sights.
To watch a baseball game is to experience something you've done hundreds of times before, with enough variety thrown in to keep it from being a white noise machine or something. I have a hard time watching a game and not letting my mind wander, thinking about my day or my family or whatever was already on my mind. I can think of no higher compliment for the televised game of baseball than to say that it is almost meditative in nature. That's something you can't get in the martial urgency of football or the flowing rhythm of basketball. It is, in my viewing experience, totally unique.
That calming presence and space to think is what I love about hiking, and it's one of the many things I love about baseball. I've done my fair share of analysis and my fair share of watching Cards games on the edge of my seat, rooting so hard on every play that I'm drained by the end. What has kept me coming back all these years, however, is the zen nature of the game, the fact that it's a sense of comfort and sameness whenever I need it. It's not an easy thing to write about, as you can see from this meandering post. It's just a great thing.
I guess, in closing, I would just like to say that this year I'm thankful for the game of baseball. It's been a constant throughout my life, and I wouldn't trade the experience of watching it for anything. Enjoy your weekend, everyone, and thank you for taking the time to read my brief ramblings.