Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Problem with Mountains

Living as I have in Illinois all my life, I can’t claim a lot of experience with mountains. So I was bowled over by the ones we visited in northern New Mexico on our just-completed family vacation. We were visiting (or should I just come right out and say discommoding?) my in-laws, who live on the flank of a peak in the Sangre de Cristo range on the edge of Santa Fe. I spent most of my week there gaping at the kinds of vistas you just don’t get in the flatlands. I did a little running on the gorgeous trails that wind around the mountains there, and every once in a while I would round some bend on a twisty path and have to stop to gawk at some spectacular view. There were a few times when I was sure I could see half of New Mexico.

The problem with mountains, though, is that they make baseball a very complicated sport. My boy AJ and I make it a habit to bring our gloves and a ball on every vacation. On our driving trips, we make sure we have a catch when we stop for a rest along the Interstate—so that we can now claim to have played catch in most of the states east of the Mississippi. Matters were a little trickier in the mountain west, though. When we tried to have a catch on the steeply pitched street leading to my in-laws’ place, we learned that wild throws could roll downhill for a long, long way. We had to stop after one throw got past my son and he couldn’t stop the ball—our only ball—before it rolled off into the brush. It probably came to a final rest somewhere near Albuquerque.

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