The ball field from the pitchers mound is an open rolling view. Expanses of green, and directions framed by dirt running lanes invite something that is particularly human, something playful and safe. There’s nothing more I love than reading writers who can approach a sense of mindfulness and sport, an appreciation for the human experience in the center of the play, a peacefulness in the heart of the technique.
So when I’ve read articles about pitching, about the ball, the grip, the looseness required on the mound -when I’ve read those- my mind and heart feel appreciative. A good sports or meditative writer can take a pitch and, with words, bring you to a peaceful mental plateau where the world seems to lay out around you like a field, where everything is as it should be.
But sometimes a pitch is just a pitch. No words could give it any more meaning than is needed. No amount of mindfulness will elevate it. Trying would ruin it.
Most of life is like this. Still we cherish the story, the poem, the shared experience.
Sometimes a spirit plate is just a spirit plate.
When my aunt taught me to pray the Lakota prayer to the four directions, she also taught me to put out a spirit plate to invite the ones who’ve passed, the ancestors, to share our meal. There are so many things to learn from this simple spiritual practice, so much about respect and history. It’s a shared tradition in many cultures. One could go on and on.
But most often this simple nod to our past and our loved ones is just as it should be, a respectful moment.
We talk about cultural appropriation a lot in terms of the unwanted thing that it is. I want to learn and teach the moment of respect that should be there instead.
Sometimes respect is just respect. And no amount of angst filled entreaties will bring it forth. It has to be practiced.
Martial artists spend a lot of time presenting lineage, who taught who. Scientists and musicians spend a lot of time documenting whose shoulders they stand on. We know how to do this.
When a population is displaced and sharing ground with incumbents in a new land, both parties learn to give space and respect to their mixed communities. As children emerge who are mixed, they carry that respect (or lack of) in their souls. This is a part of community.
I use the word “displaced” because I want to get away from the identity of the colonial in this look in. I’m thinking more in terms of the Irish, forced off their land by famine and land “Lords”, or Somalian refugees are now beginning anew in a US Little Mogadishu (Minneapolis). We can go after the genocidal disrespectful bunch later. People need to not approach this with guilt, or anger.
South Africa learned to do this under Mandela. Tacoma, Washington’s Chinese population learned to do this after being driven out of that city. Japanese Americans, too, have shown us a way here.
Reconciliation, I think next time I want to look at reconciliation; maybe ponder it in terms of Reclaiming.