My UNWIND retreat was amazing - a fantastic group of people attended and we had so much fun learning techniques, playing Pokemon, eating ridiculously awesome food and hanging out in Austin for a few days afterwards.
I have three rules at my retreats: 1) No politics 2) No news from the outside world (you know - when you're happily stamping away and someone dramatically gasps and reads everyone a story from their phone about how all the kittens in the world were killed at a rodeo or something. Total buzzkill.) 3) No whining - so if something isn't working - or you're cold or hot - you just buck up and be chipper and try again.
It makes for a wonderful, fun, positive, off-grid experience for two short days. It's amazing what a two day break from the negative things in our world can do. My sides still hurt. And there were only a few interactions with law enforcement. Involved parties will remain nameless.
Then, magically, when I got home, the bubble persisted, thanks to the most magical World Series in a long, long time. I was so afraid I'd miss the series entirely if the Indians clinched an early win because I didn't take my last guests to the airport until Tuesday. Thankfully, the Cubs soldiered on, and I was able to experience the magic of those last games.
My friend Katherine watched the Monday night game with us and made a comment that a lot of people echoed in the ensuing days, and that was this: This is the opposite of everything happening in the world right now.
And it's so true. I've always felt that way about baseball, truth be told. It's the ultimate American sport, and so full of all of things that are great about living in this country. Watching the fans on both sides, hoping and singing and cheering - it just warms your heart. And after game 6, when the Cubs fans stayed in the stadium singing Go, Cubs, Go - how in the world could you have wanted to be anywhere else on earth? I couldn't have.
My Facebook feed was filled this morning with posts from people appreciating the "break" from politics it gave us all - and how the feeds were full of positive, happy posts about the games. And while I would like to point out that you can have this all the time by eliminating amateur news reporters and negative posters as I have done - I realized one of the reasons I just adore baseball is that, like America, baseball is the long game.
Honestly, this is why some people don't find it exciting. There most definitely are many more instant gratification sports, but they bore me. I love the long uncertainties, the strategy, and the calm between storms in the sport. You learn a lot in all the spaces in between the double plays and grand slams. And many of those things aren't about baseball at all.
The election and all the accompanying garbage you see on television is like one of the exciting moments in a long game. ("Exciting" can be interpreted in many ways, not all of them positive, of course.) But the long game persists, in large part, unaffected, because there's so much to come and so much that has gone on before.
Our lives will go on after next week, despite what everyone wants you to think. And if we make sure we have a little more baseball and a little less drama, I bet the world will be just fine.
I dug out an old, treasured set for a quick watercolor before my trip to OnStage because I just wanted the series to last a few minutes longer.
I stamped the player image from Take Me Out To The Ballgame in Smoky Slate and watercolored it with my Schmincke watercolor - and added a retired sentiment from The Art of Life.
Think how powerful a force those games were to change the quality of these recent days. Magic.
Go, Cubs, Go.
Long live baseball and God Bless America.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of your fellow Americans united in something 100% joyful. That's the world I live in. Couldn't be happier about it, too.