Aisle Of Wit

Read More Articles

Shelter From The Storm

Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

I survived the remnants of Hurricane Ida physically this week.  My biggest loss was a few hours of U.S. Open tennis and a day’s worth of use of a thoroughly soaked hoodie.  But as I shivered in my indoor seat this classic and poignant Bob Dylan standard keep echoing through my brain.

And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
I’ll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

The past 20 months have been an incredible, almost unthinkable journey, one that has not only defined Leblanguage but has challenged its very existence on multiple occasions.  We’ve experienced unprecedented happiness, life-defining clarity, unfathomable loss and our entire existence redefined.

Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point had been left unresolved
Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

Never could I have dreamed that I could be so physically healthy.  Never could I have dreamed I could be so spiritually enlightened. Never could I have dreamed the road to those zeniths could have been so frightening.

I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail
Poisoned in the bushes an’ blown out on the trail
Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

There are days that have tried my resolve and the patience of my loved ones to their very cores.  I’ve questioned the need and desire to wake up more often in these 20 months than in the previous six decades.  But leave it to my beloved New York Mets to provide the ultimate inspiration for this entry.

Suddenly I turned around and she was standin’ there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

So what if the bracelets were handcuffs, the flowers dredlocks and my crown of thorns a blue and orange cap with an interlocking NY logo on it? The point of that stanza was just when you think you’re down for the count you find what you need to survive.

The Mets were trailing Miami (delicious irony) 5-1 with one out in the ninth inning of an afternoon makeup game this week.  An old friend had provided me with the best seats I’ve ever had at Citi Field.  All I had gotten out of it so far was a wonderfully comfortable seat that put me to sleep for the middle innings.  Then I woke up.  Just in time to see a resurrection worthy of the words of Dylan and the disciples.

Now there’s a wall between us, somethin’ there’s been lost
I took too much for granted, I got my signals crossed
Just to think that it all began on an uneventful morn
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

Now there’s a poignant paragraph.  The angel who turned my life around and ignited my passion for this site is gone from my life, at least for now.  I did indeed get my signals crossed.  And yes, she indeed provided me literal shelter.  I simply can’t forget her and no matter how deep the chasm is and how little she thinks of me she provides inspiration every waking moment.  Just like the kind Brandon Nimmo had when he hit a two-run homer to close the gap to 5-3.

Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
But nothing really matters much, it’s doom alone that counts
And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

When you get a little bit of hope, you inevitably endure setback.  And sure enough after getting a runner on the next batter, Francisco Lindor, lined out sharply, making it two outs. one on.  But then my Polar Bear, Pete Alonso, kept the game alive.  Two on, two out,  And up into the eye of the storm stepped Javier Baez.

I’ve heard newborn babies wailin’ like a mournin’ dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

Baez had alienated Mets faithful earlier this week by leading a revolt of “thumbs down” reactions to fans booing his lackluster stats since his trade from Chicago a few weeks earlier.  Baez is talented, passionate and outspoken, but so far as a Met has been wildly inconsistent.  This was a scene scripted by Bernard Malamud.  A home run would win the game, and likely cement Baez’ legacy as a Met hero forever.  So he connected…for a single.  Agonizingly it’s now 5-4, Alonso on third, Baez on first.  Baez isn’t a folk hero–yet, but the boos have stopped for now.

In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
I bargained for salvation and she gave me a lethal dose
I offered up my innocence I got repaid with scorn
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

The hero in Dylan’s song meets his maker here.  But back at Citi Field the batter is Michael Conforto, one of the last remnants of the 2015 World Series team and himself struggling mightily this season.  Conforto had thrown a fit in the dugout after his previous at bat, frustrated at his earlier ineptness and the looming loss that could have effectively buried the Mets’ 2021 season completely had the earlier score held up.  But now he stepped in.  And he connected with a solid hit, scoring Alonso quickly and now creating the path for Baez to turn into a stallion, churning past second and then third.  A wall wouldn’t have stopped a resolute Baez.  Miami’s left fielder, a catcher by trade, then bobbled the ball.  Baez, known as El Mago (the magician) turned on his jets and sprinted for the plate.

He scored.  He FUCKING SCORED.  Five runs in their last at bat–not in 14 years had the Mets done that!!  The Mets won–they were alive.  And for good measure they won the nightcap and last night’s game too, now five in a row.  Sure the wins were against bottom-feeders and the odds of post-season are still long.  But as they and we head into Labor Day weekend we are both in the race, alive and kicking.

And while the angel who resurrected me remains distant, a new, even more inspiring one has entered the picture, one who is even more blessed with the combination of physical attributes and far greater emotional maturity. She inspires me in ways I never thought possible, literally has me sprinting with enthusiasm and vigor.  The very sound of her has me charging into life.  There is a future with her, though not necessarily a traditional storybook ending.  And there is a future for the Mets, at least for now.

And for now the storm has subsided.  Roads are open.  Transit is running.  I’m likely gonna make it back home tomorrow exhausted but safe and secure.  And then the next chapter begins.  The book isn’t closed.  Our shelter awaits.

Well, I’m livin’ in a foreign country but I’m bound to cross the line
Beauty walks a razor’s edge, someday I’ll make it mine
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm.

Dylan’s still going.  The Mets are still going. I’m still going.  Happy Labor Day, one and all.  Until next time….