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, March 31, 2024

Easter Sunday 2024

Daffodils for miles

This was taken a few years ago when I visited the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, and there were still plenty of pretty daffodil fields to see, like this one, as well as tulips emerging. But this year, the fields of tulips are still to come, and my friend Lily and I will go sometime during the month of April, but right now we're not sure when peak blooms will happen. We'll be watching the bloom map closely.

When I think back on the incredible number of Easter Sundays I've had, dozens and dozens of them, most of them fade into the background except for a few images, experiences, and tastes that still resonate with me today. The first that comes to mind are those pretty Easter baskets we always found at the table when we came to breakfast. Something about that shiny green "grass," with little treats hidden here and there, like colorful jelly beans and individually wrapped chocolate truffles, sticks in my memory. There was often a big chocolate bunny, and of course we dyed hard-boiled eggs. I don't remember exactly when we did that, was it the night before or the day of? My sister Norma Jean probably remembers, but my memories revolve mostly around eggs, a big decorated ham, and of course, chocolate. We were not a church-going family, so I haven't any memories of church or the reason why Easter is, well, Easter. That all came much later in life than during my early childhood.

Wondering how bunnies laying eggs got mixed up with Easter, I found an interesting article in Time Magazine that tells the tale:
According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests.

Fascinating! I now have a different feeling about all those traditions as they emerged from my childhood and how they became the norm for my generation. It doesn't take away from the innocence and happy Easter morning feelings I remember from back then. 

Yesterday, my friend Steve joined me for part of my walk along Boulevard Park, and we noticed several dozen little wooden Easter eggs nestled here and there along the trail. Someone decided to give us a little Easter treat, I guess.

Pretty wooden egg

Now that I know where the idea of Easter eggs came from, I have a new appreciation for all those Easter egg hunts going on today, all around the country. Maybe the world, who knows? Not everyone knows about Oschter Haws, or cares to celebrate an egg-laying hare. I always enjoy learning about how traditions come about.

One of my favorite memories of Easter as a grownup comes from one long-ago year when I was a skydiver. I went on an Easter egg hunt early on Sunday morning, since we skydivers had been told there were plastic eggs hidden around the Drop Zone, with treats of varying value inside. I found one, and inside was a slip of paper telling me I had won a free skydive. I don't remember the jump, but I sure remember my sense of delight when I opened the egg and found out what I had won. I think the big prize was a parachute, worth many times the price of the jump, but I felt so happy with my little prize.

I promise I won't be making a habit of writing posts like last Sunday's, where I chronicled the pain and loss of those loved ones. It was good for me, though, since it cleansed my heart and gave me a sense of peace afterwards. But I cannot go back and read it again, because it doesn't seem very helpful to me or my readers to wallow around in sadness. I appreciate all the thoughtful comments you left for me; those I will read again, since your heartfelt condolences fill me with gratitude for your caring. Life is filled with so many wonderful moments that we can share with one another, it doesn't seem right to concentrate on past losses. There are instead so many delights surrounding me right now, with the magic of the internet and my connection to you, for one. And the presence of my beloved partner, who sleeps next to me on this Easter Sunday, for another. I am filled with love and joyful anticipation for the day ahead.

Happy Easter!

Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I wish you all good things, and that you will find yourself surrounded with love. Be well.


gigi-hawaii said...

Happy Easter, DJan. I'll be celebrating today with lunch with my sisters. It will be David's first family get together since returning home 2 weeks ago.

Marie Smith said...

Have a peaceful, joyful Easter, Jan. Wonderful memories of Easters past keep us going too. We are celebrating our Easter meal tomorrow.

Rian said...

Easter is my favorite holiday since it involves new life... both spiritual and physical... love all the newborn critters and the green grass and flowers of spring! My memories revolve around church (didn't like to dress up - still don't), but we got baby colored baby chickens as well as goodies at Easter (think they outlawed that later), but I loved those baby chicks. Sometimes we got a baby bunny. Nowadays we put colored plastic eggs in the tall grass out back for the ferals at Easter.
Happy Easter DJan... sending you Easter hugs!

Elephant's Child said...

Happy Easter.
Love those fields of daffodils - sunshine on stalks. The little wooden eggs were a treat too. Easter is in early autumn rather than spring here.

John's Island said...

Sunday mornings when you are enjoying coffee with John and others at the coffee shop, my much better half and I are watching Sunday Morning on CBS. The anchor, Jane Pauley, started today’s show with these words, “The death of a child is an unspeakable tragedy.” As the show progressed I thought about you having lost your sons. Every story like this is different, of course, but you might enjoy seeing how the parents of twin boys handled their deaths. If you would like to watch, here is a link to that segment of the show …
Happy Easter to you and SG.

Linda Reeder said...

Yes, Easter baskets on the kitchen table. It was one of the few times of the year when we had candy or treats. And Easter dresses we were to church. My famikly were church people and most of them still are. Just not me anymore.
There were many years of famikly Easter dinners and egg hunts. In fact this is the first year in my life that there was no Easter dinner or egg hunt. We spent the day in Gig Harbor with SIL Jan, in sunshine, mostly outside. It was lovely, and NO cooking!

Red said...

I have lots to choose from to make comments on this blog. It is good to write about losses. The least readers can do is offer some support. Years ago a young man who'd lost a premature son shared what he had written about the loss. I was amazed at what came out of his letter.

Anvilcloud said...

We are having decent weather for a few days on Easter Monday. It's bright out and above freezing. The plowing companies are beginning to take away their driveway signs, so they won't be coming back even if it snows. It likely will snow again, but it won't stay long.

Rita said...

A belated Happy Easter from me. ;)

Gigi said...

And another Happy belated Easter from me too!

I enjoyed learning how the "Easter Bunny" came to be.

DJan, never apologize, or regret, writing about your losses when you feel the need; because it can give you a measure of peace to remember your loved ones and children. xo

Far Side of Fifty said...

The Daffy dills are so pretty in that field! You know this is your blog and you can write about what ever is on your mind. :)