Observe the handsome shortstop!
Like a dream conjured up by that witty balletomane James Wolcott, he spins on his axis as he fields the white orb. Look: He pivots, his teenage body a miracle of vitality as he hurls the ball to the first baseman. This first baseman lacks the shortstop’s animal grace, but he is yet—I can see from the bleachers through the binoculars I bring for this purpose—possessed of a long leg and a well-turned thigh.
The shortstop stumbles forward on the follow-through from his throw. He is lithe, confident in his gait, graceful; he removes his cap, running his hand through dark hair that gleams like oiled mink. Pacing in the dirt now as the pitcher considers his next pitch, the shortstop rubs his chin, well-chiseled and touched by the first delightful down of adolescence.
Now turn your attention to the pitcher. He, too, is a work of art. He is something close to the towheaded ideal of old Midwestern boyhood. Had I skill in the plastic arts, I would sculpt him in my studio. I would study carefully his torso, the turn of his shoulder, the soft swell of his deltoids. But I have no such skill. I am merely a small-town lawyer, a father, an Orthodox Christian. I lack the talent to express what is so moving about youthful beauty. This thought brings a bittersweet tinge to this summer idyll at the high school JV ballfield, here under the starry sky of rural Indiana.
Out with melancholy! The evening is full of the glory of BASEBALL, that game most consistent with the spirit of an older, pre-neo-liberal, agrarian America. Brother Aiden and I avoid professional sports, as they are symptoms of the corporate capitalism that we despise. They are the problem, not the solution. (Many pro sports owners are Zionists of the most vicious sort, like Robert Kraft—the last name is telling—of the perennially cheating New England Patriots.)
But amateur sport, played on the local level by boys, O glorious boys—this is the solution! And so we sit, Aiden and I, in the bleachers, somewhat apart from the parents and other spectators, drinking from our Thermoses the refreshing kvass that is, truly, one of the gifts of a country summer. It’s good to be away from our farm, from the rigors of organic husbandry and of the Benedict Option; from our duties as men and, in my case at least, from the eternal adolescent carping of Daughter, that adolescent ingrate and most subtle masturbator. It’s good to relax here in the wooden stands, engaging in conversation that is well-informed, tempered with wit, and manly.
With the trained eyes of connoisseurs Brother Aiden and I we watch the action on the diamond. We appraise this limber-footed leap, that coy flex of a young pitcher’s wrist. We are in the presence of BEAUTY. That is something that is not to be taken for granted in an America long since given over to vulgarity, jingoism, and the Levantine-Asiatic values of the casino and the trading floor.
I generally do not like to advertise in this space, but I must make an exception for these wonderful sandals that I recently purchased from a family business in San Antonio. Beyond any question, they are the best and most comfortable sandals I have had in decades. And while I am no slave to fashion, I must say that they are also rather handsome.
I find that they are appropriate for fieldwork here on our Organic Acre, for my periodic visits to my law office in town, and for gathering around our communal table for a dinner of lentils, raw radish halves, and mushroom bullion. They also allow one considerable comfort when one is on one’s knees, abasing oneself in front of one’s home-built iconostasis, beseeching in particular the Holy Righteous Saint Artemius of Verkola, our intercessor with the MOST HOLY LORD in the event of hernias or intestinal disorders.
Well-made, comfortable, and rather attractive sandals at a reasonable price point: Rejoice!
—Follow John M. Harris on Twitter: @PaleoConDiarist