Friday, April 17, 2009
What Did You Do for Easter?
Here are two poems and some photos of what I did the Thursday and Friday before Easter 2009.
Nearly all the schools in
Southern Sweden are off
for Easter Break; you can tell:
Long lines at the Vannigan
(Pool); full parking at Vellinge
Blomman, Oh! to have
Gardens for such flowers!
Where so many admire
The Shetland colt that
Coats fill the view finder.
Bulle and cakes, nearly
Gone from the café--hardly
An outdoor Table without
people or their remains.
Lines at the grocery, no room
To stand at the meat counter.
The elderly walk their dogs in the
Streets and on the beach. Youth
Walk their parents through Malls,
Sights and events. Mothers
Push their prams to public places
To watch more than a baby..
Children observe the bustle,
Finding ways to tease, some on
Bikes swerving past bag toting
Walkers, others crowding the
Korv window. Large, printed
Eggs fill gaping boxes, luring
Parents to fill with sweets for
Easter, while some children
Dress as Easter witches, hang
Colored eggs from the trees
And fasten feathers to twigs
For the harvest of good luck.
You know when you’re among
Them, standing in the same lines
Your little one determined to do
What the others are doing before
A return to rigid learning
Or celebrating a resurrection
By eating candy eggs and wearing
The ironed best. Eternity gets
lost in the pleasures of Spring.
The meeting would be at five.
Twelve adults, ten children
under nine. We’d celebrate
in remembrance of the ancient,
the past and present, of being
redeemed, forgiven and changed.
We would need chopped apples,
nuts, raisins, grape juice, matzo,
parsley, horseradish, salt water,
egg and lamb. Cooking the lamb
gets me. Chopping apples takes
sweet time when there isn’t
any. There is a knock at the door.
“Want to go flying? Today’s
the perfect day!” We do, but
the apples, the lamb! We grab
coats and cameras. We go
flying. Sun on the sea, a hem
of surf along the sand, brilliant
orange roofs on white stucco
green fields taming the earth.
Swoop, swerve, drop slowly,
bump down over grassy turf,
trade riders, snap photos, wave.
Go back to the kitchen. Stare
blankly at all that needs to be
done. See only the deep blue
sea. Another knock at the door.
Chef Jeff to save the day by
helping prepare a roux for under
the leg of lamb after hiding
cloves of garlic like Easter eggs
in the grist and muscle. Our
children play. That done, they’re
gone to come back later. No
sound of another landing but
now it’s time to go to the Easter
Egg Hunt in the spare lot by the
woods. People are waiting.
Jonagolds, bulging in bags, will
have to wait. Hunting is arduous.
A lot of chocolate is hidden under
leaves and logs and in the branches
of the beeches and pines. “There is
another chocolate bunny still hiding
in the bushes!” Kids tromp through
the brush seeing none of the shiny
foil.Bunny found, korv eaten with ketchup,
a little påskmust to wash it down,
time to go home and finally chop
apples, stir the juice, check the lamb,
prepare the plates, move furniture,
vacuum quickly. Two hours
swallowed and the doorbell
begins to ring. Food for the feast
arrives in mounds. Somehow we
get seated, even the children, light
the candle and the ceremony begins.
It isn’t only children who complain
about eating parsley dipped in salt
water. Adults want to be dismissed
from eating what might taste bad
when we are trying to remember
slavery, tears, mortar, plagues.
We drink to sanctification,
redemption, salvation, and praise.
We want to sing. We do! The
palette changes and celebration
begins with awakened tastebuds.
Amidst the laughter and feasting,
we are humbled, aware, amazed.
Until the children finish eating
and we are soon busy herding,
correcting, cajoling. Coats and
shoes and the wide outdoors for
the little ones while we eat the
Chef’s chocolate cake, learning
about Belgian chocolate, genache.
There are leftovers, dishes,
water everywhere and children
underfoot. When the food is
stashed and bagged, people leave,
family by family, group by group
until it is quiet again. The apple
“mortar” is hardly gone, no trace
of lamb. One more person to take
home, discuss the evening,
Exclaim over the looming full moon.