Growing up in the suburbs of Baltimore, I spent a lot of time with my brother in our backyard playing catch with our lacrosse sticks. Our number one activity was playing catch, but because our back yard was small and aggressively foliaged, our second most popular activity (and it was a close second) was searching for lost balls.
The average time searching (per ball) was around 10 minutes. There is a certain technique to it. First you search the spot where you saw the ball enter the shrubs – then you start searching out in concentric circles. Sometimes the process would take hours.
As I got older, and my priorities narrowed, I spent less time searching for balls. I was focused mainly on schoolwork, athletics, and the related stresses of being an adolescent. Many balls went unfound in the tangled shrubs.
My parents live in a different house now. Our yard is bigger and there are fewer shrubs. But as I drive through the neighborhood where I grew up I can’t help peeking at our old backyard and wondering what might have been lost, buried deep under years of debris.
I hope we all spend a little time this holiday season searching for lost balls.