The Highway is Alive Tonight

I live about 500 feet from Highway 36, a major freeway that runs between Northeast Minneapolis and the Eastside of St. Paul. It is an elevated road, and looks down over my neighborhood. In the winter when the trees are bare I can see the cars whizzing by when I walk out front to get the mail.

The noise took some getting used to – as it is only two lanes and therefore does not necessitate a sound barrier (which is fine because interstates divided our neighborhoods enough, the last thing we need are walls to further divide us) – but over the years I have gotten used to it. I barely notice the hum any longer – and when I do I don’t mind it. As I mentioned it is not a major interstate like I-94 or I-35W, so it quiets down at night.

Sometimes, when I am alone, and I hear the hum – when I am laying in bed, or sitting on the front stoop – I often contemplate as to whether or not the passengers in those cars I hear are thinking about me. Wondering who I am. What my story is in this little sunken, tree lined neighborhood jammed between two downtowns.

And of course they are, because we have all been there, too. We have all pushed our face up against the passenger window as our car flew through Kansas or Oklahoma or Upstate New York or Montana and looked out at those neighborhoods in the middle of this vast land – those tiny lights in an endless landscape of lights – and wondered who those people were down there. We wondered about their great loves, their tragedies, their great failures, their great successes. Their darkest moments. Their greatest joys.

But we – the melancholic passenger poet – were missing the point.

The beauty and magic of living a life day to day – hour to hour – minute to minute – is in the mundanity of existence. In the minutiae of every moment. A father coming home from work to have his burdened lifted just by seeing his daughter. A quiet evening with the ballgame on the radio for the housewife who wonders where the time has gone. Taking the trash out and catching the perfect sunset. Coming home to a warm, well lit house on a dark winter’s night.

That’s life in America. That’s life everywhere. That’s what makes this all count. That’s why we get up everyday. Not for the grand moments or the pinnacles or the valleys. But for that moment every single day when every little thing we do becomes worth it just for a few seconds.

*

When it comes to cricket, I too often have been the car passenger counting streetlights from the turnpike. Watching the matches whiz by me, looking for the big stories, the big ideas – but those grand and great ideas are few and far between. The magic in cricket is in the little things. The quiet moments when the game breathes. The small stories of success. The perfect delivery. The one great cover drive. The perfect sunset over what cynical me would call just another meaningless One Day International:

cricket-sunset_1991392i

Those are the moments that I need to be writing about.

On Twitter I mentioned that I was out of things to say about cricket. But that is hardly the right case. I just need to start seeing the forest for the trees.

Or, I guess, vice versa, in my case.

Stop looking for the big picture – and look again at the small picture.

I often whine that cricket is too infinite for my American sensibilities. But that’s just not true. Cricket is just as finite as any other sport. We just need to look for the mundanity that gives it its ending and purpose. If we take too wide a view, we miss it.

That’s what two of most favorite bloggers – Gary Naylor and Jon Hotten – do. Find those small moments – those little moments of magic that make this game what it is, that give it depth, and pattern, and meaning – and write about them.

And so that is what I am going to do.

I am going start by, ahem, live tweeting – of all things – a Big Bash League match. Adelaide vs Brisbane. 20:45 eastern time here in the states.

I hope to see you all on Twitter.

We can find the little things together.

 

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2 Responses to The Highway is Alive Tonight

  1. Wow. Some really well written and precise stuff here. Really captured the beauty of the game in quite a simple and subtle way. Please have a look my stuff so far, see what you think.

  2. Pingback: Little things | Declaration Game cricket blog

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