No matter what religious or spiritual path you follow, Eastertide is full of the promise of new life. It’s all around us, in trees leafing out and vibrant colors blooming from bedding plants all over the city and suburbs.
Tiny creatures are making their first appearance in the world, peaking out from foliage, flying from nests and slithering out from under garden rocks.
My young neighbor made her debut into the world on a beautiful April spring day four years ago. Her birthday marks the real beginning of spring for me, as I watch her kick off her shoes and leap into the front yard on that first warm day of the year. After one of our recent hard rains, she ran down the sidewalk, kicking through puddles and drenching herself from waist to toes.
It took me back to my own childhood, when we used to stand outside under the eaves of our house during a raging thunderstorm, with no thought for the lightning flashing all around us. Water running off the roof filled a shallow drainage gutter that ran between our house and the neighbor’s garage.
In a real good thunderstorm that lasted for any length of time, that gutter would fill with about 10 inches of water and we would leap into it like frogs in a pond. In early spring, the water would feel freezing-cold and our lips would turn blue before Mom would scold us and call us inside.
It was the baptism of spring, and that first dip into an April shower always felt like a new beginning.
Easter Sunday was the first day that we would dress in our new spring dresses and a white pair of shoes. All the girls and women wore hats to church in those days, and the church would be filled with Easter lilies. Everything always felt so fresh and new.
I remember kicking off those brand-new white shoes before the day was done so I could walk barefooted through the new spring lawn. To this very day, it just isn’t spring until I can kick off my shoes and walk through the grass.
I might even join my little neighbor in a romp down the sidewalk puddles after our next spring rain.