And oh how welcome it is, especially after the dark bitter months of winter. My soul cries to hear birdsong once again and greet the returning robins to my yard. As the light increases and the temperatures warm, I await the arrival of our titmouse who long ago claimed “my” trees as his domain, and my husband as his favorite buddy who keeps the feeders filled with seed. I long to see the daffodils and forsythias dot the landscape in yellow splendour, and cherry trees erupt in a froth of flowery plumes.
But the Vernal equinox didn’t mean much to my younger self because in upstate New York, Easter was synonymous with spring.
So the equinox would come and go with nary but a fleeting thought. Why? Because most likely, there was still four feet of snow outside our windows. In fact, even a month later, when the Easter Bunny arrived with colorful eggs and bright baskets filled with delectable treats, there could still be snow in the forecast.
I remember one year, we had an ice storm on Easter Sunday itself and afterwards, the whole countryside sparkled like jewels in the sunlight. I can still see my young self, enchanted by the ice coated leaves of the mountain laurel blanketing the hillside next to our house. I crunched through the crusted snow and gingerly detached the ice from a glossy green leaf, careful to keep it whole, marveling at the ice-leaf before plopping it into my mouth and relishing its clean, icy goodness melting against the roof of mouth.
I loved Easter.
I loved it so much, my Dad continued to *surprise* me with an Easter basket every year, all the way up to the age of sixteen.
It’s only now as adult that I realize it wasn’t so much about the trimmings of Easter that sparked my young heart into joyous fire. It was the fact that it meant the return of spring. The return of life to all of nature. It was baby chicks and bunny rabbits, flowers and sunshine. There was nothing more wonderful then spending an afternoon dyeing hard-boiled eggs into an array of pastel colors and fanciful design.
For what can be more symbolic of rebirth, than an egg?
But I now live in the mid-Atlantic. And the return of spring does arrive on the Vernal equinox.
So today, I’ll be hosting my annual Spring celebration with a few close friends, and include all of the symbolic goodness Easter.
Happy Vernal Equinox! Blessed Ostara! Welcome spring.