the furthest from your front door

Springtime is the best time because it just arrives. You spend the winter months hunched and bracing against the cold and then one day you wake up and involuntarily stretch and the sunlight is coming in and it’s here. And you’re a little less angry and you smile a little more and you take the long way to work or to the library or to the store and you read one more page of that book you don’t want to finish and by the time you do finish the book it’s summer. By then every day can be a lazy day and every way the long way, but right now it’s spring so you finish just the one extra page and know, from memory or some place inside of you that gets a little brighter and a little louder every day, that there is more to come and that the true pleasure of life is that some of it is already here.

Is the whole point of life that you can’t know, that you can never know, but that, regardless, you have to decide and to keep deciding? I wrote that somewhere as one of the great twenty-three-year-old revelations of my life: that there was a part of life that you could own, that maybe all of it was for you to own if you just took it. Life as Ms. Pac Man, or something. Crossing the right threshold, finding the right track and turning into a new version of you, a version that can attack the thing which seeks to attack you.

I grew up in Kansas, where spring never comes as a surprise because we strong arm it in with the NCAA Tournament, or March Madness. I think fifth grade was the first year I paid attention to the games on the TV and made bets and crossed my fingers and prayed for some new version of us. Us, suddenly, because that’s what we became in March. A whole winter of winning and losing, of cold and no sunlight. By March we had earned the right to win, all of us in fleece and down jackets, scarves, hats, gloves. We had earned the right to new versions of us, the ones in throwback jerseys and cotton shirts. Sweating in stands or crowding into basements, living rooms, or dens to watch what happened next.

My cousin posted her bracket yesterday. It was an insane mess where all roads led to Kansas taking the championship and, somehow, Wichita State getting very close. Nate Silver and KenPom be damned. Probability and the entire regular season be damned. She lives in Florida now and I’m in Oakland, but all roads lead to home is how we like to see it. Even in the sunshine, we’re still looking for a win.

It’s not a wheel, it’s a carousel, etc. etc.

KU plays this Friday at 3:50PT. I’ll be watching with my fingers crossed, hoping for a win.

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