Well here we are at the end of March with a number of events sort of colliding unexpectedly. No sooner has St. Patrick’s Day marched and/or staggered past than it’s Easter, which seems to come on a different date each year. And there’s a very good reason for that. It’s because it’s based on how soon after the vernal equinox the full moon comes. Now you’d think the moon would cooperate and arrive at full, er, moonliness at the same time every month, but no-o-o-o-o. It’s on a roughly 29-1/2 day schedule while your months are doing the 30 to 31 day thing based on that rhyme everybody learns in school. So you’ll get about one per month, but some years you get 13. That means Easter can be really early in the Spring, like this year, or 29 days later toward the end of April. Or any time in between.
But the vernal equinox means that it is officially Spring and that means you can put away your ice scraper, gloves and hat. Ha-ha, just kidding. You live in Western Pennsylvania, remember? You have to keep those articles within arm’s reach through mid-April. If you’re an especially seasoned camper, you might recall seeing kids wearing earmuffs on Memorial Day. Meanwhile, though, frost or no, Spring is busting out all over. Our local rabbit community starts the breeding season in February, and with an enviably brief gestation (pregnancy) period of 30 days or so, you’ll be seeing some of the more precocious of this year’s crop of bunnies any day now. You may also see some of the less brilliant of the neighborhood dogs chasing them, so you’ll want to take it slow, at least on the side streets.
The other signs of spring are vegetable rather than animal (the mineral ones are out of our jurisdiction). If your daffodils haven’t stuck their fool heads out to get frozen off yet, they will. The crocuses (croci?) and the tulips aren’t a whole lot brighter, but they’re all so persistent, so trusting that you can’t help but feel it’s coming. The warmth, that is. It’s coming, right? We saw a big old dogwood in bloom the other day. The contrast between the rough bark and the pink blossoms is sort of striking, and it was sad how the wind was whipping and clawing at it and blowing those delicate colorful petals all over the neighborhood. That’s the fight that the cold and the darkness puts up each year, and each year it delivers a few formidable blows before backing off. For you tech-oriented readers, it’s as if the rabbits and the flowers and the trees hit CTL-ALT-DEL. They hit the reset button and get to begin again with new life and a new start.
Although we are by no means learned in theology, we always thought that Easter – and Lent before it – meant for Christians that we were being given a chance to hit the reset button. We may not be as innocent as the newborn bunnies or the budding tulips but we can try to start over and grow into kinder and better people. Even if we’re still Idlers. Happy Easter.