You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows
~ Robert Zimmerman
So the clouds gathered and conspired to block out the Sun. That was awhile back of course and anyway the Sun came out again just last night if you happened to be looking. It was around 6 in the evening, eastern standard time, and a crowd had accumulated along the lines of the local baseball diamond. Armed with enough rain gear and umbrellas to tent the entire field, we were determined, as a community, to get this game played. It was just after warm-ups when it happened, a split in the heavy grey quilting appeared above and those golden rays stunned the crowd as if they were lasers from an alien ship. As we stood in a rapt attention, palms rotated out, I half expected to be lifted into the air and right on out through that hole in the sky...felt like it anyhow. But, it was gone just as quick as it came and we all shook our heads and looked around in a dazed kind of way and realized it was the bottom of the fourth. We were up by one, 4-3, over the town from across the bridge and, oh yeah, it was raining. No one was surprised, of course, and the umpires let us get good and soaked for a few minutes (we were still too mesmerized by the laser beams to open any umbrellas) before they called for a rain delay with no small amount of disgust with the Gods above.
So, as a community, we waddled and quacked to our respective shelters; dugouts, vehicles, the equipment room, inside the snack shack. Well, Harper climbed onto my lap and I taught him how to use the windshield wipers and we sat, in a soggy sort of way, and watched as the rains thickened onto the glass and blurred the world outside. He giggled and kicked the wipers into high speed for a bit as we watched through the pane as if engrossed in an award winning dark comedy. Surely they'll call the game my wife and I concluded as the onslaught grew heavier and the older children relented and took shelter with us in the steamy van, their clothes wringing wet. It was perhaps the cruelest of punishments, after these many long days of darkness, to be entombed inside a mini van, wrapped in wet fabric and draped with a handful of restless, tired children. With muddy boots.
Time wore on in a melancholic fashion and we became less surprised with the whole ordeal. Eventually, spirits were lifted when someone, from behind an especially fine brand of windshield wiper, noticed that the clouds seemed somewhat lighter off on the horizon. Ya know, not quite as deep a grey. This information was shuttled to the umpires, huddled deep inside the equipment room. They emerged like that famous groundhog except carrying wide rakes. Summoning each coach from their respective dugout they met at the pitchers mound, as the rains began to lessen. They scratched at the dirt a bit with the wide rakes and gathered close to examine their findings. The meeting adjourned and they split slowly off into different directions with no real hint as to their decision. Soon we saw old #9 (the eldest of the Soule children) pop his smiling head from inside his concrete bunker. He was waving us back to the field in a delight only an eleven year old would understand. Game back on. Did I mention we were determined, as a community, to get this game in?
Top of the fifth inning and our ace closer takes the mound to shut this one down before darkness settles in. He must have been set off the mark by excessive sunflower seeds and chewing gum because the strike zone was elusive. 5-4 in favor of the team from across the bridge, bottom of the fifth. Well, the home team gets a run back amidst a spattering of cheers from the faithful and we're tied up going into the 6th and final frame. What's this? Another meeting of the minds, only this time they swarm at home plate. The rule book clearly states that no inning shall be started after 8pm. It is now 8:05. So the teams line up and shake each others hands in their ritual display of sportsmanship, albeit tonight, with no decision of a victor. Saddled with an outcome grey enough to match the day, we shuffle to our respective cars and load the wee passengers aboard. Calvin informs us that the last inning has to be played on another day. Maybe Sunday afternoon, if the weather is better. It starts to sprinkle down rain as we pull out of the gravel lot and onto the road.
"Turn the wipers on, Papa!" yells Harper from his seat in the way back.
"Thanks bud." I say with a sigh.
So you wait for the storm to break. And don't let the storm break you.