Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Is For Everyone - It Doesn't Have To Be Religious

Spring snuck up on me this year for some reason, I poked my head up from the daily grind to find the baseball season had started, and The Masters golf tournament on TV. Of course spring is about more than baseball and golf, its all about resurrection and renewal. The grass and the trees, seemingly dead for so long...springing back to life.

Growing up in New Jersey this was always my favourite holiday season, even more than Christmas. Sure I loved the presents under the Christmas tree, but late December is the most depressing period of the calendar year. Actually that's where the celebration of the Yule season started, marking the time when the days are shortest and the hours of sunlight the fewest. After Christmas though the days get longer, with light winning the battle against darkness, until finally spring arrives and the hours of sunshine overcome the hours of shadow.

In the little town of Glen Rock back in the 1970s all the kids would gather near the county pool, where there was big open field separated by a ditch. We'd all line up on one side of the ditch, and with the blowing of a whistle plunge into the ditch and climb up into the open field for the annual Easter egg hunt. There was a special egg hidden, with a particular identifying mark...the kid who found 'that' egg would get a really special chocolate bunny...solid chocolate all the way through and weighing something like ten pounds. In the four and a half years we lived there it was never me though...I had to content myself with the lightweight hollowed out version the Easter Bunny left in my basket Sunday morning.

Eggs and bunnies, age old symbols of fertility....of life. That's what makes this time of year special. As I've grown older I've come to have serious doubts about the whole Jesus story. The Good Friday tale about Jesus having the last supper, then being betrayed and brought before Pilate. The crowd being given the opportunity to pardon one prisoner, not once but twice...and then Jesus being crucified and dying on the cross. Getting all that accomplished in just the evening hours of one single day....everyone must have been running faster than Ben Johnson on steroids.

That doesn't mean the story doesn't have significance, things don't have to be literally true for there to be some moralistic merit to the narrative. The lesson I've learned is that life never ends. Science has taught us a lot over the centuries, one of those lessons is that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, that it merely changes form. Life in my view is energy, when something springs to life it is the result of energy after all.

So I'll be enjoying this holiday time with my kids. We're going to see the new Hanna Montana movie today...and we'll be taking a hike hopefully through a nearby ravine.

Happy Easter everyone, enjoy this season of renewal.

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