It could be fall if I go only by that which I can hear. The rain outside, nothing dramatic or torrential, but steady, comforting in its way, as the evening grows darker. The house feels humid, though, not on the verge of cold, as it does in autumn, but still on some dark mornings I wake and I am not quite sure what season it is, especially when it rains.
The birds give it away on those mornings I wake early. I find them irksome in principle because they hinder my falling back to sleep. It simply isn’t done to admit this about the early spring birds, so I ask you keep my confidence on this.
Last week some of us woke to hail, then it cleared into a bright sunny day, only to cloud up and hail some more, or was it sleet, or was it ice, in the afternoon. My sister and I had a bit of a tiff over it as we stood in in her kitchen and watched her puppies run around in it, oblivious to whatever it was.
I would say we are having a bad spring, but of course, we are not. No tornado warnings to speak of, warm nights followed by cool days followed by freeze warnings followed by cold days followed by sunshine and balmy breezes.
A typical spring, then.
In recent years we have been bestowed with springs that seem to begin in February and last until the first of July. Last year I bought herbs, geraniums, and Shasta daisies in mid-March and didn’t need to drape them with tea towels once during the long, long spring.
Even though Easter is late this year, we still aren’t sure what to expect, weather-wise. While we have two little ones in attendance at the family gathering, they are still too young to gather eggs, and we will be happy to avoid that all together. When I was little it seemed to rain or snow on Easter. The Easter Bunny hid eggs in the house on those early mornings, and we were fishing dyed eggs out of the couch for weeks.
I reckon my parents were happy to hide the eggs indoors, but it was just a let-down, you know? The house still dark from the early hour and the rain, eggs visible from the landing, and no real challenge to any of it. Easter basket grass is lovely and fairy-like when backlit by an early Easter sun. It is just kind of messy and matted sitting in a leaning basket on the hearth.
Easter Sunday was church, and new shoes and something frilly which, in the early 60s meant scratchy and uncomfortable. There were new gloves, white and cotton or sometimes crocheted. A dime for the plate inside the glove, worrying my palm with its cool metal antics, moving and sliding as I moved and slung my arm.
Maybe we all came to Sunday school clutching our Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, or maybe we brought it the Sunday before. In the Southern Baptist church where I grew up, women couldn’t participate much, except in the most womanly and motherly roles. But the only historical figures of the church every child could name were these: Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon.
For some Easter is their favorite holiday. It is certainly the most high holiday of the Christian calendar. I liked the Easter hymns, although they made me shiver a little. They were joyous and dark all at the same time, and the Easter stories were dramatic and upsetting, and sometimes we had preachers who went too far, pounding for effect on the pulpit as they acted out the nailing to the cross. The stories of all night vigils, betrayal, beatings, and the very word Golgotha terrified me. That Easter weekend often ended with a TV airing of the “Wizard of Oz” just topped it off.
But this Sunday we will gather from our various Easter services, watch the boys roll around on the floor, someone will almost step on them, someone else with drop cake on their heads, there will be ham and deviled eggs and mercifully no Easter grass.
I will fall asleep remembering my Bible lessons, and flying monkeys, and the feel of white cotton gloves, as spotless as they will ever be.