Spring is awash in amazements.
First, there is the light. For those of us who get up with the chickens, that glimmer of pre-dawn light is almost holy. I step outside and find that the earliest morning sound I’ve only been half-hearing, somewhere between a rasp saw and a buzz, unaccountably loud, is coming from the tiniest pair of wrens. I want to say they are Bewick’s, but don’t quote me. So tiny. So loud!
And then, before I’ve even had a sip of coffee, there is drama. A familiar anguished cry from above signals that a hawk is already at work, on a foray to raid the crows’ nestlings. A deadly ritual played out each spring, one that has made me sympathetic to crows for their courage and devotion. They mob the hawk, driving it away from the nest. It approaches again and again against a fury of beating black wings. I can hardly bear to watch because I have seen too many times how this plays out.
Perhaps this hawk, though, is young and inexperienced. Incredibly, it desists and flies off, at least for now. All is peaceful again. A bunny skitters tentatively from the hedge. Fresh-laid eggs, still warm, already await in the coop. Spring is gloriously unfurled.
Bunnies. Eggs. Ah, yes, it is Eastertide. We dyed eggs, we dressed up, we brunched. But did we observe? Yes, we went to church. But did I celebrate Easter? No, not in the truest sense. Neither did Google, by the way. There was a Google Doodle on April 14 for the first day of the Bengali calendar. And another on April 18 for the birthday of Esther Afua Ocloo. But on Sunday, April 16, Google was silent.
Sometimes it is in absence that I finally pay attention.
I squint and hold my breath as I prepare to walk through the cloud of gnats that have materialized by the pond behind our property. A week, two weeks they have pestered every passerby, swarming in a wide swath across the road. But today they are not there. My eye is drawn upward – the cliff swallows have arrived! They sail above the pond, an armada of gnat-eaters to the rescue.
I only noticed them in the absence of the gnats. I only saw Easter in the absence of the Doodle. Absence. The empty tomb. Be amazed.
I am grateful for all the years of my life because I am so very slow on the uptake. I have needed each and every year to even begin to understand the mystery of the Resurrection. Each year wheels around to its center, which is Easter, and marks the page. Here. Right here. Look now – the tomb is empty. He is risen.