I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter 2021

Rita Eberle-Wessner creation

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf. —Rabindranath Tagore

Here we are again, the week has slid around to another Sunday, this one Easter. I went back to look at previous Easter posts I have written, and the picture I thought I might use at the beginning, of my sister Norma Jean and me with our Easter baskets many decades past, has been used too many times already. This one, snagged from one of my Flickr friends, thrills me with its perfect evocation of springtime joy.

And I love the image that comes to mind when I read that quote from Tagore. What does it mean, to "let my life lightly dance on the edges of Time"? Almost every person whom I choose to emulate has already danced there, and they have left the realm of the living and now are only present through their past works. Does it matter that they are gone from this earth? Does it make them any less relevant?

No, certainly not. Easter reminds me that we are all caught in this wonderful and magical creation of ours, that of being born into a world we know nothing about, learning and growing, moving from youth to old age, feeling ourselves the same, but always dancing on the edges of Time. After living through a pandemic winter, the birds are now singing, the flowers emerging from the ground, and my life feels filled with promise. We are not through to the other side of the pandemic just yet, but there is much to be grateful for and to enjoy through each moment of the day.

Easter always comes on a different Sunday, and I learned that it was decided to be held the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox, by the First Council of Nicea in AD325. It's also the celebration of Passover, the eight-day-long Jewish celebration of the Israelites being freed from Egyptian slavery. It's not by coincidence that all these events happen at the same time. But why in the world has Easter become associated with bunnies and Easter eggs? Here's why:

All the fun things about Easter are pagan. Bunnies are a leftover from the pagan festival of Eostre, a great northern goddess whose symbol was a rabbit or hare. Exchange of eggs is an ancient custom, celebrated by many cultures. Hot cross buns are very ancient too. In the Old Testament we see the Israelites baking sweet buns for an idol, and religious leaders trying to put a stop to it. The early church clergy also tried to put a stop to sacred cakes being baked at Easter. In the end, in the face of defiant cake-baking pagan women, they gave up and blessed the cake instead.

The celebrations of annual events has been followed by humans immemorial, and here we are in 2021, still following the same paths set down by our ancestors. It makes sense, since we are all experiencing our magnificent planet and its seasons throughout our lives, whether we dance lightly on the edges of Time for a long or short moment. It's sort of reassuring to me to realize that even as momentous events occur, the march of the seasons stays the same through the years. Easter comes and Easter goes, but will return again and again.

For me, the holiday is also a time to remember those who are (as they say) on the other side of the grass. My parents are both gone, but when I sleep at night, my mother often visits me in my dreams. My children are both gone, but my son Chris sometimes comes to laugh and rejoice with me, and I remember that all that I am today is part of my history that will never disappear as long as I breathe.

And it is also a time to count my blessings, which are numerous. As I sit here in the dark with my laptop, I feel the presence of my dear partner, who sleeps next to me, and my gratitude for him in my life only grows as the time passes. When he had a stroke last August, and I worried that I might lose him, it became very clear to me that I had better appreciate our time together every single day. He has mostly recovered from it, but he's different now. In some ways it has been a good thing: he's more emotional and less reticent to share his feelings with me. He still makes puns and bad jokes that cause me to groan in protest, but now they are precious and unique. But he also still struggles to speak clearly and works on making progress every day. If anything, I love and cherish him more because of the stroke.

During this last year, I was unable to carry on my life as usual, and now what I realize is how much of my routine was fungible: although now that I walk with one or two friends, I still walk. If I cannot hike in the mountains, I can still enjoy the wonderful forest environment within a few minutes drive from here. I do miss my workouts at the gym, but three Zoom yoga classes a week in my living room have helped me stay moderately fit. And some things will never return to their pre-pandemic place in my daily life, but it's not something to lament, just to notice and appreciate today.

And yes, there is always my social calendar, one which I am enjoying right this moment: a conversation with my virtual family. Once I finish this post and hit publish, I will look forward to your comments and hear what you have to say. One day soon, I should be able to attend a movie theater inside, but for now I am happy to keep things virtual. Now that I am fully vaccinated, I feel so much less apprehensive about walking around in close proximity to others. Here in my town, we are all still wearing masks and keeping our distance, but lately I have been able to hug dear friends who are also vaccinated. It's wonderful and something I once took for granted.

And with that, dear friends, I will finish off with an Easter wish for you: that you will find joy and companionship in your day. And that you will also remember that whatever else happens, you are appreciated. Be well until we meet again next week.


Linda Reeder said...

I am vaccinated too so I am giving you a hug. :-)
It isn't warn today, but it isn't raining. There will be an egg hunt in our garden. Jill and I have been texting about food and timing. Dinner is at 1:00, with both of us doing cooking at both of our houses, to converge here for our gathering of the usual seven of us.
We have chocolate and jelly bean eggs and baskets and flowers and ... so much to be grateful for.
Happy Easter. Happy Spring. Happy Day.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy Resurrection Sunday! Have a wonderful day. I hope your guy continues to improve...it all takes time.
We must all be thankful for the little things...the important stuff.
I am so happy that you continue to hike....and get out and enjoy your part of the world.
I love most things that Tagore says... dancing on the edge of time...I like that...a lot! I think it describes my life lately....although sometimes the dance is a little frantic. :)

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you for yet another beautiful appreciative post. Love your mindset. I am thrilled to hear that Smart Guy continues to improve.

Rian said...

It's Easter 2021 and we finally got to hug our kids and grand daughter!! We did do it masked and inside, but we have all been vaccinated (except 7 year old grand daughter) and we felt it was time... (first baby step). Wonderful Easter gift!

Marie Smith said...

I think of departed family today as well. They are beyond the veil but ever as close as the next thought. I can smile when I think of them now which makes the memories welcome. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to dream of them but I haven’t remembered dreams until recently and none of dearly departed sadly.

I am glad your husband continues to improve. Good news for sure!

Thank you for this upbeat post! It helps brighten the day!

gigi-hawaii said...

Happy Easter! I enjoyed what you wrote about the origins of Easter, bunnies, and eggs. Very interesting. I have not gotten to the point of hugging people, yet, but one day soon I shall.

Arkansas Patti said...

Happy Easter Djan and Smart Guy.
Glad to hear SG is doing better and hope he is soon completely recovered.
Actually all the information you had about Easter I did not know the first thing outside of biblical references. That was interesting. Thank you.

Red said...

You made some smooth moves here to relate your topics to Easter. It's been different this year but when you look back at it, hasn't been so bad. Most of us have managed to adapt. You have found a different way to hike. We can still remember those who've passed on before us.

Glenda Beall said...

Easter always brings back happy memories of my family which is almost all gone now. Today was a quiet time, alone, on a beautiful spring day. Like you, I felt grateful for the life I have had, for living through the past year and actually thriving in some ways. So glad you have hat your shots and are making those steps to get back to normal. So happy SG is improving and hope he will continue every day. When you face a serious illness you realize how precious life is and how precious is the dear one you love most. Thanks for another thoughtful post and information I did not know.

Anvilcloud said...

Another fine and deeply thoughtful Sunday post.

ApacheDug said...

Well, I'm a day late and a dollar short (I began reading this Easter Sunday but kept getting pulled away) but here on Monday morning it's still a lovely read. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I'm almost 60, had NO idea of the Easter rabbit tie-in, have questioned it enough and am just now learning! Still, the blessing of those defiant women's sweet cakes.. love it. But you also gave me a lump in my throat about your dreams of your son Chris... I dream of my own parents enough, but I can't imagine dreaming of a lost child. Gosh how sweet that you can hear his laugh... Anyway, as always I loved the photo at top (but please share more of your early photos, I can't get enough of those) and loved your kind thoughts about SG. DJan, I hope you have plenty of good days ahead.

Rita said...

Whether we are aware of it or not we are all dancing on the edge of time from the moment we are born. Life is precious...and it changes regularly. So glad SmartGuy is gradually improving and doing well. Appreciating you. :)

William Kendall said...

I imagine it'll be some time yet before I can be vaccinated.

Maria said...

When you find that you have lost your way, that there is no way out for you, know that your strength must be in the Lord. He will sustain you, He will lead you to green pastures đŸ’–

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, It is great to hear that SG is doing so much better. It is wonderful to know how going through the experience with him and recognizing changes has deepened your relationship. Thank you for sharing that. Another uplifting thing ... your dreams where those who have passed appear again. I haven’t experienced that but I am going to see if I can call up that experience. Lately I have been reading a book I would recommend to anyone open to awareness ... Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander. When I combine Eben’s experience with my learning from Eckhart Tolle, I’ve found it encouraging to find peace in presence. Thank you, as always, for sharing your blog. Until next Sunday, take care and be safe. John

Margaret said...

This past year has helped me realize how adaptable we are, and how many different paths can bring us to joy.