Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reflections at Easter time

Each year around Easter time, there is a feeling of spring in the air. I remember that feeling growing up; the sun feels a little warmer, the birds are singing, the trees are showing small little buds, and whatever snow is still on the ground is melting, forming small rivulets that wander off to nowhere in particular. The puddles reflect the blue skies and the few white clouds that dot the sky. I enjoy taking a long walk at this time; life is returning, after a long, dark, cold winter. The older I get, the less I enjoy winter. It wouldn’t matter if I was a skier (I’m not); I prefer the warmth of spring and summer, and even autumn, especially in New York where it can sometimes still be mild in early November. I understand why older people prefer warmer climates; it’s not just about the warmth, although that’s a big part of it. It’s about the sunshine, the light, the feeling of renewal, the ease of life. Summer’s warmth is a reminder that life doesn’t have to be so hard, that you’re allowed to take it easy. Winter is the opposite—a constant reminder that life is hard, harsh and unsympathetic, that you have to struggle to accomplish each little thing in front of you. Just having to wear layers of clothing to protect against the cold is already too much for me. I remember disliking that even as a child, having to put on and take off snowsuits and sweaters underneath. I suppose weather forms a person; if so, I much prefer the person I am in summer. The winter person is merely waiting to be reborn as a summer person. I suppose that all the seasons have their charms; I grew up in an area of the world that experiences four seasons. Oslo is the same, except that winter is a longer season here than in New York. As I get older, I wish winter was shorter.

One of the memories that always comes back to me when I think of Easter is when I lived in the Bronx in my early twenties, and was to spend Easter Sunday with my parents, who lived in Tarrytown and who had invited family for dinner. I didn’t have a car at that time, so I took the subway into Manhattan and then took the train from Grand Central to Tarrytown. I remember the feeling in the city on Easter Sunday; it was a gorgeous sunny day, flowers were in bloom, people were dressed in their Easter finery and everyone seemed just a little happier than usual. Grand Central Station was teeming with people on their way to different places. It’s a memory that warms me when I think of it; I don’t know why it has stayed with me all these years, but it has.

I am not working this week, the week before Easter. It is wonderful to have those free days—no stress, no deadlines, no duties, no having to be somewhere at a certain time. Being able to go outside for a walk when I want, or waking early, lying in bed and listening to the birds sing or squawk outside our bedroom window. Or tackling the myriad of small house projects for which I suddenly have the time and energy. The word resurrection comes to mind; this time of year is about that too in the spiritual sense, and it is nice to be reminded of that in the church services on Easter Sunday.

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