“My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.”
I remember when Easter meant running around looking for the right goodies to put into Katrina’s Easter basket. Every year I would hide it in a different place. On Easter morning, her father and I watched with delight as Katrina raced around the house, opening cupboards and drawers. I distinctly remember her saying one year, ‘Last year it was in the dryer so it can’t be there this year.” Of course, that’s exactly where the Easter bunny put it this year too! It was such a joy to watch her triumph upon discovering her basket filled with colorful jelly beans, chocolate eggs, and yellow peeps.
After our breakfast of hot, cross buns and scrambled eggs, we headed over to Judy’s (my sister-in-law) house for her annual Easter celebration. Judy spent the entire year preparing for this event. We gathered in her living room where she presented each of her family members (usually about eight of us) with a customized Easter basket. It was such fun poking through our baskets and uncovering little gifts that our very own Easter bunny brought us. I hope Judy knows how special those Easter mornings were to all of us.
Do you have special Easter memories?
Of course, time marched on; the kids grew up, and Jim and I moved away. Now, our Easter activities are less kid-centered and more about savoring how nature celebrates the arrival of spring. A few days ago, I was driving past our community lake and noticed that one of our resident geese had been hit by a car and lay dead on the side of the road. I was filled with sadness until I rounded the corner and saw a gaggle of newborn geese with their watchful parents. These little guys, no more than a few days old, were too cute as they raced around, no doubt causing Mom and Dad heart palpitations! “Come back, Junior, you’re way too close to the cars!”
The advent of spring is a wonderful time to become more mindful about the renewal of life that surrounds us. A few days ago, I planted a root-bare rose bush in my yard. As I arranged the roots into the hole, I thought about all the connections this rose bush has with the universe: how the new garden soil contains elements from the earth and was mixed up by human beings in a factory somewhere; how the sunshine and rain nourished the roots to this point and will continue to nourish it; how its promise of future beauty will enrich the lives of Jim, me, and my neighbors; and how the bush’s health will depend on my continual tending and dedication. We are connected, this rose bush and I!
Yesterday, Jim, Chucky, and I visited an inlet in Ocean City to enjoy the sunny afternoon. I felt the spring sun’s warmth travel down through my body as we walked to the water’s edge to watch the boats coming in and out of the marina. On one entrance post sat what looked like a black cormorant and on the other post sat a big black and white gull. These shorebirds sat calmly and peacefully as the noisy boats went in and out of the inlet between their two posts. I imagined that they enjoyed the sun just as much as I did.
This Sunday, Jim and I plan to go down to the beach for Easter sunrise. We want to celebrate that while impermanence prevails in all our lives, we can find peace in the knowledge of life beginning anew.
I hope you enjoy this beautiful poem.
Everyday You Play
by Pablo Neruda, translated by W. S. Merwin:
Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.
You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.
Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.
The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.
You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.
Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.
How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.
My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.