It hasn’t been a normal winter. Temperatures are milder, early winter snow has largely melted, ponds are at best unsafe to walk on. If Australia is burning, New England is experiencing one of the warmest winters on record. The world is unsettled… but small signs of familiar are out there if you look for them. Even if these too have an odd twist to them.
Yesterday was Truck Day in Boston. That probably means nothing to most people in the world – and why would it? Truck Day is the first sign of spring on a normally cold and relentless winter, when snow storm after snow storm batters our very souls. And while the winter hasn’t spun into soul-crushing yet (there’s still time), Truck Day still highlights the rite of passage from thinking of winter to Hey! It’s almost Spring!
Truck Day is when the Boston Red Sox roll their trucks full of baseballs and uniforms and God knows what from Fenway Park to Fort Myers, Florida to be unloaded and ready for Spring Training. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel, hope for better days ahead. Dreams of green in a brown, monochrome world. But even Truck Day feels different this year. The Red Sox fired their Manager in the midst of a cheating scandal, there’s talk of trading star players instead of excitement about the pitching rotation and the outfielders. No, it’s an unsettled winter on Causeway Street, which makes Truck Day just like everything else this winter; a bit off. Like waking up the first day you have symptoms of the flu off. And this winter, of all winters, comparing an event you normally look forward to to the flu isn’t the kind of light at the end of the tunnel that you want to see. It might just be that speeding train barreling towards you.
But that’s pessimistic talk, and Truck Day, even with the chaos in the world and on the Red Sox, is a good sign. Maybe this will once again be their year. If they can find a Manager anyway. And then it hit me, this is how we used to think before the Red Sox started winning World Series. Jaded optimism disguised as pessimism after getting beaten down year-after-year by the Yankees or (going way back) the Orioles. Yeah, that’s the feeling I was trying to place, the feeling of dread hiding behind hope, as another season begins for The Olde Town Team. Buckle up everyone.