This morning the Monsieur and I went to the driving range. It was a rare treat –since usually he’s at work for hours by the time we were plopping balls into our cute little metal baskets– and one that was surprisingly well rewarded.
We are getting pretty good at shootin’ em balls nice and straight, being able to come off the straight-right-arm moment and PGA-logo pose with enough grace to see the ball follow a pretty straight trajectory that looks happily perpendicular to our feet. In other words, we’re definitely sucking less than when we first started our weekly pilgrimages to the golf course. And then there were changes, vacation, pregnancy-related exhaustion interfering with said pilgrimages, but today it was all behind us.
And It was perfect.
I guess “perfect” is too idealized a word: golfing is not perfect. Taking tee shots is not perfect (unless you’re after cussing a perfectly blue streak). Topping the ball and feeling the metal resonating through your body as the ball makes a loud POP and goes flying “par terre” across the range is not perfect. And getting red-dirt backsplash isn’t perfect. But there are perfect moments, filled with the realization that golf is as close to contemplative prayer or meditation as many will get, and that in many ways Tiger Woods is the closest our generation will ever get to the children who saw Our Lady of Fatima or to a young Dalai Lama or a young Siddharta–and yes, that is no blasphemy.
Hitting the ball well is better than poetry and chocolate and good sex, but it’s so fleeting that you try to replicate it over and over. And in your frustration to do it just right again, you lose that precious center that you’d unconsciously achieved. Every shot then becomes a struggle and you feel a thousand hateful and deriding eyes as you flub ball after ball.
But if you realize that you must respect the Oneness of the ball and lovingly lift it up with the lightest of pushes, you start to understand that it’s not just about smacking a ball: this is mysticism, people.
The ball is an extension of you.
The ball needs you as much as you need it.
And the club is an extension of your intention.
You are all fluid and one with the wind, and the grass, and the sand.
And the moment that you let your human emotions interfere and make one thing more important than the rest is the moment the beautiful illusion is broken and you are nothing but a bipedal ape smacking a stupid white ball.
So yes. The driving range, it was good.