Gary’s April Gems – The Spring is in Our Hearts Issue
There is so much to love about spring. I used to especially love spring skiing. Sadly, I don’t ski anymore. It’s too emotionally painful. After losing my Olympic bronze medal due to a petty disqualification for ski-tampering. It brings back too many memories. I was disqualified (unjustly) for tampering with my skis. I don’t mean to throw my mother under the bus (God rest her soul), but it turned out that during her annual spring cleaning blitz she had the brilliant idea of polishing my skis with WD-40. ”I thought they’d go faster.” She said. #aprilfools
April is the first real month of spring. Although it will still be a few weeks before we’re tip-toeing through the tulips, the sun is warmer and the crocuses are breaking through the ice ceiling. The word “snow” will soon disappear from our vocabulary and sunshine, grass, and flowers will take their place. And the smiles. Ah, yes, even when hidden behind COVID masks, our smiles will reveal themselves through our eyes. Sunshine is life and where there’s life, there is hope. And that, my friend, is what spring means to me.
It’s not a coincidence that Easter takes place in the spring. Humans have been celebrating the return of the sun and the rebirth of nature since time immemorial. Death followed by resurrection (Christianity) and slavery followed by liberty (Judaism) reflects nature’s cycle of death and renewal.
Spring renewal engenders hope which in turn, inspires growth. This is why I love gardening. Is there anything more hopeful than starting your flower seeds indoors in April, watching them germinate on the windowsill and sprout until they’re ready to be transplanted in May?
Enter the Easter Bunny.
Easter traditions were appropriated from pre-Christian spring equinox rituals. The arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere signalled the rebirth of the earth after winter. Not surprisingly, Hares and rabbits became symbols of fertility.
The Easter Bunny tradition began in early seventeenth-century Lutheran Germany. The Easter Hare (rabbit) started out as a judge, (not unlike our dear Santa Claus) deciding whether children were naughty or nice. If they were good, the hare would lay eggs for them.
My parents were particularly creative one year in hiding Easter eggs.
Every Easter we would wake at the crack of dawn to begin the big hunt. That particular year, I remember we searched every nook and cranny of the house but couldn’t come up with a single chocolate egg. We were getting increasingly frustrated and finally complained to our mom and dad that they forgot to get easter eggs. (The Easter Bunny myth had long before been busted.)
They swore that there were Easter Eggs hidden in the house and that we just had to look harder.
We scoured the house over again and still came up empty-handed. We complained again. They told us to keep looking.
After another fruitless search which ended in tears and tantrums, they told us to go upstairs and make our beds.
“The Easter bunny probably saw you misbehaving and took all the eggs back.”
We were devastated. We made our way up the stairs as if we were in a funeral procession and went to our respective rooms. I began the onerous task of making my bed. I threw the covers on the floor then lifted the corner of the sheet when I thought I saw something shiny.
It took me a nanosecond to figure out what it was. In a flash, the bedsheets were piled on top of the blankets on the floor.
Before me appeared the Easter bonanza, foiled wrapped chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies and a Cadbury Creme Egg.
I guess there was a lesson here; sometimes you don’t have to search far to find your treasure.
Easter marks the end of Lent which my family kept religiously. (pun intended).
And just so you don’t think I was a spoiled, greedy kid rotting his teeth with candy, we kept Lent boxes.
We filled them with pennies, nickels and dimes from our allowances. Then, just before Easter, we carried the coin boxes, which jingled all the way, to St. Mathews.
I remember feeling rather pleased with myself because my little act of selflessness was going to help every kid whose family had less us get a visit from the Easter Bunny.
They came on one of April’s most brilliant days–a day as sparkling as a newly-washed lemon…a day when even the shadows were a melange of blue and orange and jade, like the shadows that poured from the tipsy brush of Monet – Beverley Nichols
I hope you enjoy your April Gems.
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