This year’s Easter celebration began with a question. What do we want to do, now that our children are grown? I pulled out my notes and keepsakes spanning the last fourteen years (at least!) to see what might appeal to me. At the library, I checked out books by Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas à Kempis, and Annie Dillard. Ed and I sat under the near full moon, gazing into a meager fire, and listened to the rush of Sawmill River. How do I encompass all the elements of Easter– the joy, the anguish, the mandate to love? How do we celebrate Spring?
Again the forest is fragrant.
The soaring larks lift up
aloft with them the sky that to our shoulders was heavy;
one still saw the day through the branches, indeed, that it was empty–
but after long, raining afternoons
come the gold-besunned
before which fleeing on far housefronts
all the wounded
windows fearfully beat with wings.
Then it grows still. Even the rain goes softer
over the quietly darkening glint of the stones.
All sounds duck entirely away
in the glistening buds of the brushwood.~ Rilke
The following morning, we flipped pancakes to “Palm Sunday” and other songs from Garcia’s Cats Under the Stars. We talked about food and poetry. We joked about baptisms in icy waters. How about a hot tub and foot massages? WWJS?
Here is a fabulous post about Wood in 5 Element Theory. I feel the rush of Wood Energy this year in the unseasonable warmth that short-circuited the maple sugar season, in the swollen rivers and streams and flooded basements of family members, in the high emotions of old hurts brought to the surface. At a time of year wherein I’d expect to be full of energy, I am burnt out.
That hot tub doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.
Easter Sunday and we are up early (of course!) We are out of the house just after 7:00am and heading up the hill. We reach the vernal pool and spread out a blanket. Our plan is to be silent for 20 minutes. I count my breaths and occasionally open my eyes to gaze at the early sunlight dancing along a spiderweb. A woodpecker knocks. My mind stills. In a moment of great coincidence, our 20 minutes ends with the bells of the Montague Congregational Church chiming at the top of the hour. We look at each other. My laughter rings through the forest.
Back at home, Ed pops the cork on a split of champagne while I try my hand at a Hollandaise Sauce (“There is no reason to fear”, says Fannie Farmer, “this classic sauce, yellow with butter and egg and tart with lemon.”) In truth, the poached egg gave me more trouble.
Use a double boiler or a metal bowl placed over hot, but not simmering, water. Put 3 egg yolks in the boiler top, and beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and gradually whisk in 1/4 lb. melted butter, pouring in a thin stream. Slowly stir in 2 tablespoons hot water, and a dash of cayenne and salt. Continue to mix for 1 minute. The sauce should be thickened. Serve immediately, or hold over warm water for an hour or two. (Note: keep the heat warm, not hot!)~The Fanny Farmer Cookbook, 12th ed., p.272
Gustav Mahler and Lindt Gold Bunny. Need I say more? The musical backdrop and sensual exclamation point of our breakfast of Eggs Benedict (no pope pun intended), asparagus, pineapple & strawberries, champagne, and coffee. We were blessed with lovely weather this Sunday. We worked outside, raking and hauling. My back and arms are speaking to me now. We took time to read on the porch. We spoke with some of our family members, and read emails/looked at Facebook postings from others.
I’ll close with one more German–whose spiritual teachings I hope to meditate on in the next few weeks. Both Ed and I faced some crazy weeks at work lately. This passage spoke to me, in a somewhat ironic way. In the 15th century, Thomas à Kempis wrote:
It is no great thing to associate with the good and the gentle: for this is naturally pleasing to all, and everyone preferreth peace and lovest best those that have like sentiments.
But to be able to live peacefully with the hard and the perverse, or with the undisciplined and those who contradict us, is a great grace, and a highly commendable and manly thing…
He who best knows how to endure, will possess the greater peace
~ from “Of the Good Peaceable Man” in Imitation of Christ
Let it be.