Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Bird-Man

I saw the bird man in the Bronx today.

Whistling and cawing, he was, as though trying himself to bring back all the birds, as though saying "winter is over, come back home", even though winter technically still has another two months to go.

Even so, one can tell that the thaw is beginning.

It is no longer as dark as the dead of night at four thirty in the afternoon, snow seems old and pointless instead of fresh and fun, and the gear that greets me on the streets is not that of the Giants or the Knicks or the Rangers, but that of the Yankees and Mets.

It is, of course, no secret that New York is a baseball city. Baseball first, baseball foremost, baseball forever.

We live for spring because it makes us believe again.

It makes us believe that the world doesn't have to be an oppressive place, it makes us believe that things that are bad, whether they be minor like a third place finish in the division, or major like a collapsed economy, that these things cannot endure. It makes us believe that we can be bold with our predictions, that A-Rod can have a monster year and CC can (again) win the Cy Young and that those chilly October nights will be worth it.

We are a cold weather city, but winter is not our thing. We can do Christmas all right in Rockefeller Square and no one rivals our New Year's, but these things we would do anyway, even if they were six months later.

Our hearts lie in the spring, in the endless promise of hope, though we refuse to forget our history and perhaps this is why baseball and, of course, the Yankees mean so much to us.

So go ahead bird man, caw and tweet as you will.

We like spring around here.

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