Friday, April 02, 2021

Easter's Gifts

It begins with death, of course, on this Good Friday:

"The path of those who preach love, and not hatred, is not easy.
They often have to wear a crown of thorns." --Nelson Mandela
(inside the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium, 2019)

Actually, all of Winter (the season still whimpering like a lion in some places) is also Nature's metaphor for death/hibernation, before Spring's resurrection.  I saw it in the hydrangeas I fell in love with.  Does Nature teach us not to fear death?

Because Easter really does happen.  Easter.  Spring.  Resurrection.

Spring here in Gorinchem jump-started at the end of January with warm rains.
And then a week later came the snow and ice, putting everything on pause!

A month later, at the beginning of March, things picked up again.
We knew it would!

Every Monday, walking home from grocery shopping, I saw the change.

It took my breath away...more than any other Spring ever.
(Was this one of the pandemic gifts?)

The Lion of Winter, of course, always gives way to the Lamb.
The Promise.

That's when Astrid started working her magic, thinking up how we could make this Easter extra special through the eyes of our wee lambsy-divey granddaughter, Hailey, age 2-1/2.

For several weeks in a row, Astrid blew out the yolks of eggs (Saturday breakfasts for us!),
and saved up the shells for the day she started painting them, March 26.
She painted these at home, practicing with different paints, 
making sure everything worked.

(She's one very clever, talented artist, if I may say so myself!)

Then, last Saturday, off we went to Hailey's house to see if she'd catch Oma's bug!

Even Papa caught it and was a good sport.

Both he AND Oma painted their own egg, with Hailey beside them.
(And in case you're wondering, NO, Oma Ginnie made herself the designated photographer.)

I think we found our new, budding artist!
Don't you just love her blobs/globs of paint?!  Why didn't WE think of that?!

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
--Winnie the Pooh

Oma Astrid knows all about cleanup, after which we ate lunch.

Easter.  Spring.  Resurrection.  Hailey.

I don't know about you but it's all different this year, taking on new meaning.
Gifts for the Soul midst the pandemic that's still not over, especially here in Europe.
(My two Pfizer jabs are scheduled for April 15 and May 20.
Hopefully Astrid's will come shortly thereafter!)

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Winter's Surprise Gift

Before she leaves (and Spring steals every waking moment), I want to make record of the surprise Gift of this winter that lingers, even as I speak:  the "Dregs" of Hydrangeas.

I didn't grow up with them and didn't even know what they were called when I moved to the Netherlands in 2009.  The Dutch call them hortensias.

To be honest, they don't do anything for me when in bloom, which explains why I have no photos of my own during their normal summer growth: 

[photo credit:  Daily Mercury/Google]

But once they start their transformation in autumn, I suddenly sit up and take notice.

And then this year came the late January rain, followed by snow in early February.

What made me pay more attention to them THIS year?  Was it the pandemic...
making us all pay more attention to everything around us (with nothing else to do)?

The week of snow was followed by a week in late February of unseasonably warm temps, 
up to the 60s F...

when with friends, just a 5-minute walk away, we grabbed the chance to sit outside in the sun.

And there from my chair, (thankful for the macro lens), I fell in love.

Will I pay more attention to the coming Spring and Summer growth, I wonder, now that I'm in love with Autumn and Winter?  

Yes.  I will.

But deep inside me I already know that it will always be the well-spent end-of-life stage that will forever enthrall me.  

Is it another reminder to fall in love with myself where I am in Life now as I know it?