I won’t be climbing the tree until later today, when we have returned from out of town. But earlier in the week I have climbed in sunshine and luxurious warmth and it has felt like Easter over and over again–it calls to mind for me not so much the eggs and lambs and church service kind of Easter, but perhaps Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the spring, after whom the 8th-century English monk Bede reported that Easter was named. But Easter or Eostre, I’ll take it either way!
It has felt like the East, like sunrise, like a new dawn, every day. The snow is gone from lawn and field, remaining only in large piles on the north side of the house. Mud is the element du jour. Daffodil spikes rise a full two inches from the straw-colored meadow floor, pushing up between the flattened stems and grasses of last year’s waving vegetation. Alger Brook in its ravine rushes louder than I have ever heard it, swollen with feet of rapidly melted snow and days of rain. Everything is drenched, liquid. Even the air is liquid with bird song in the early morning, after long months of silence.
Easter or Eostre, it feels like the world is risen again. Everything rising: moisture into the air from the ground, vegetation up toward new sunlight, birdsong from the air up into the sky. Me, up into the tree and its branches. The unimaginable benevolence of warmth almost pulling me upwards, after long months of fighting my way up through cold and wind and ice.
I walk the meadow, examining old seed pods, new channels of water, and think about the green shoots pushing up between the dead bodies of their own for sunlight. Pushing aside plant matter that by next year will be nourishment, though to shoots other than these. I resurrect old stone statues that have been tumbled by wind and snow and buried, and it feels good to have hands on stone again, working with textures and contact points and palpable centers of gravity. With things so willful in their mass, yet so unexpectedly gracious in their willingness to stand against gravity.
Up in the tree there is a softness to the light, so different from the violent light of just a few weeks ago. I begin to examine leaf buds, though we are a long way from budbreak and budburst. Even the prayer flags look different than they did just days ago: their very fibers–like the world itself–seem to have swollen and softened. Their texture is appealing to eye, to camera. Soft fibers in the soft light. And, serendipitously, loose prayer flag threads have woven themselves around twigs again and again until they have formed a kind of natural cross. It is hard not to think, and to rejoice in thinking: a Christian cross formed from tree twigs and strands of Buddhist prayer flags, suspended in the light of Eostre: