Joshua and I are back from five blissful days up in the piney woods in Maine, a nice dose of anti-New York City for a New York City boy. My parents' summer house is idyllic for a kid who loves animals and learning about nature, offering no shortage of rewarding sights and sounds for small boys who manage to stop and watch and listen. A sextet of turkeys marching through the juniper, eating blueberries. Hummingbirds dueling and quarreling like miniature fighter jets. Chipmunks so tame they'll eat sunflower seeds out of your hand. (Not an expression. Literally.) Downy woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, nuthatches, bluebirds, goldfinches. After all that, the city's close horizons and right angles were decidedly jarring.
Still, while we had lots to see and do and much to enjoy thanks to the indulgence of Joshua's grandparents, we were missing one thing up in Maine: the Mets.
Joshua likes to ask me what the Mets did last night; recently he's learned enough to also ask what the Braves did. Over the weekend he had to content himself with the briefest mentions gleaned from staticky postgame WFAN, or forays onto dial-up. In coastal Maine WFAN doesn't even begin to come in until the sun has completely gone down, and that far east in the time zone at this time of the year you're talking 9:30 at the earliest. The only live Mets action of the trip was heard Tuesday night, in what turned out to be the ninth inning.
One of these years I suppose I'll manage to borrow an XM radio from someone for the annual Maine trip. But truth is that I never try that hard. Pretty soon, the summer cottage in the pines will have crystal-clear cellular coverage, wireless Internet, holographic HDTV and who knows what else. For now, it's kinda nice that it lacks those things, even if the price is missing such shoulda-been-theres as Billy Wagner's high-wire save, Chip Ambres's big hit and John Maine getting the keys to his Cadillac.
On the flight home yesterday, I reminded Joshua of all the birds and critters he'd seen. I showed him pictures of the adventures we'd had. I also reminded him that he'd get to see three or four innings of the Mets for the first time in a while. (To a child's loss-of-innocence file add the concept of West Coast swings.) That cheered him up, and come 7:10 he was parked on the couch while I finished hauling in dishes from outside. When I came in there were too many orange dots on the diamond schematic and Joshua was barking at the TV, his tone equal parts encouragement and exasperation, “Come on, Tom Glavine.”
Yep, we were home.