Mysterious Visitors

When my youngest daughter was four, she and one of her best four-year-old friends were playing outside and called me to come from the kitchen and, “See the bunnies, mama!”

This was right around Easter, when the yard was worn-down snowbanks interspersed with wet earth. Two enormous hares were hopping around the yard, their white winter fur turning brown in patches. Or maybe the hares looked so large because the girls in their boots were so small.

Our house was surrounded by thousands of wild acres. We had seen moose and deer and bear wander through, but never hares that came to visit for a morning. The girls had made an open air house beneath the branches of a spruce tree. All morning, the hares came and went, hopping through on their powerful legs, then disappeared and never returned to play.

This Easter arrives in a strange and disorienting period in our family life, of tests and quarantining, of worry and waiting, of days of eating take-out Japanese food sent from my parents and coconut birthday cake. We’ve abandoned the dining room for the living room, surrounded by piles of library books, cats sleeping on blankets, and my two knitting projects. I’ve begun to wonder if I might ever brush my hair again.

My youngster asks what’s this holiday about anyway, with the rock rolling away and the ascension? On the phone, my brother offers his own explanation that I’ll keep unrepeated, although I woke wondering if Jesus himself wouldn’t have objected. Jesus walked in the most profane of the human world and perhaps embodied the most holy, too.

On this spring morning, with the robins singing in the box elder outside our kitchen, I’m grateful for both the ineffable mystery of spring — thaw and crocuses — and the mundane chores of dish washing and a kitchen floor badly in need of a sweep. Or, maybe, as so often before, I’m utterly wrong, and there’s not two things, not a both, but one.