Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter snow

As a northern person from way back, I always get a laugh (okay, a bitter laugh) out of the pictures of green grass, Easter egg hunts, chicks and bunnies, spring clothes, and all those images of general sunshiny goodness that the news likes to promote. As I think back, the only holiday with consistently worse weather than Easter in a northern climate is Halloween. (I have yet to experience a Halloween without gale-force winds, snow, rain, or all three, but it seems appropriate then.)

It's not snowing today, although we got close to a blizzard a couple of days ago. The freezing rain is pouring down on the brown, dead grass, and the sky is the same unvarying gray that it has been since what passed for sunrise this morning.

But sometimes you have to go with what you believe rather than with what the objective sensory experience of the weather tells you.

  • When I was little, I liked wearing new clothes and shoes for Easter even though no one would see them, since we were stuffed into a snowsuit and boots for the trip to church.
  • As a teenager, I had some very un-Easterlike arguments with my mother about whether I needed to wear full winter gear over my new spring dress to go visit the grandparents. "It's Easter! It's spring," I insisted, and won, though my legs beneath my stockings were mottled blue with the cold and my teeth chattered in the icy wind and snow.

    In contemplating what seems to be a dead season, you have to believe it's alive. You have to will yourself into being Shelley.

    Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
    Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
    And, by the incantation of this verse,

    Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
    Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
    Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth

    The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
    If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
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