This past weekend was not only Easter weekend for the rest of the world, but also Greek Easter. Every few years or so "Western" Easter and Greek Easter coincide, which I remember always being a big thing to me when I was younger. This weekend we dyed eggs--not just the light pastel colors of Easter bunny Easter, but a deep, shiny, blood-red color--the color of Greek Easter.
My mother sent us some packets of red dye she had picked up on her last trip to Greece. I made a sweet bread dough and on Saturday the house smelled like vinegar and yeast, and by lunchtime the eggs were lined up in their egg cartons like oval rubies and gems on the counter. We had the neighbors over to share in (add to?) the chaos and it was good to share the holiday (and the dye) with friends.
The weather was perfect, and the world outside exploded this weekend with spring: the dogwoods opened, the azaleas, too, and the even the bees were out in full force, buzzing and diving and hanging heavily over the brand-new blossoms.
But for most of Sunday something was a little off--my heart just wasn't as fully into it all as it has been in the past. As always, I missed being with my family on Easter, and I missed the Easters of my childhood--which I can only partially recreate for my own children. This year I think I missed it all more than I have in the past. Maybe it was the sheer overwhelming presence of spring all around us this weekend, or the fact that it's been awhile since I last saw my family, or the fact that on holidays I always feel the urge to fill my house with family and friends, and cook, and bake, and share the day and this year it was just the four of us. I always miss my grandparents even more this time of the year; even though we never spent Easter with them, they were inextricably woven into the day, inseparable, in my mind.
I didn't even have much umph in me to whip up an elaborate Easter feast, and then I felt guilty about it most of the day. Beans and rice on Easter? Pasta?Leftovers?
We cracked eggs on the porch after breakfast, and I must have done something wrong when I mixed the dye the day before because it rubbed off on our fingertips, staining them red. By the time we were done the eggs were a light pink, not the blood-red from the night before.
But then the day did an about-face, as it sometimes does. In the afternoon, after a marathon egg-hunt in the front yard, we took the kids out to the market to buy some new herbs for my herb garden. T. and I planted them, and built a fairy house, and when we finally coaxed L. out for some outdoor time the sun had been replaced by that perfect late afternoon light--the mellow golden kind that takes the edge off a hot day. Maybe it took the edge of that nostalgic-restless-hollow-sharp feeling that had followed me around all day, too, because just then, my hands deep in the dirt, I had a thought that must have been there all along: it was a good Easter after all. Maybe it hadn't been the perfect Easter-of-my-dreams; it was, instead, the Easter-of-my-here-and-now: sweet and sharp and heavy and light with both joys and sorrows, just like spring--and life itself.
If you couldn't see the pictures with the post, you can find them here, at Flickr.