Ostara's eggs


I hope this image doesn't make the blog look too sentimental, especially coming after my last post (a picture of some yellow spring flowers in front of a blue wall), but today, or some other day close to it, is a big holiday for a lot of people - for many different reasons, some of them even related.

Easter was one of my favorite holidays growing up. We were observing Catholics, but my obsession with the holiday was more about the return, finally, after another interminable Lent, of lots of smells and bells: colorful church vestments (including pink!), fresh flowers everywhere, lots of music, and candy of course (even before church).

The ancient Germans, who seem to be behind all of our biggest holidays, revered a fertility goddess called Ostara (there are many spellings), who was associated with the rising sun and spring, but who was also a friend to all children. She had a pet bird that for some reason she had to change into a rabbit to produce brightly colored eggs, which the goddess gave to the children as gifts.

None of this makes sense to me now, and I'm referring to the yarns spun by both Catholic and pagan cults, so the fact that once every year at this time I pull out of the cupboard an opaque nineteenth-century glass egg (made for darning socks?) which has sat forever on some dry grasses inside a two-inch-round antique splint basket from the same era would seem to represent as much nonsense as its inspirations. Maybe it's my way of freely rendering an astronomical calendar, but I do know it makes me feel good.

We have another very old basket which I also set out early this morning, this one in the living room. It's a bit larger. Inside its ancient woven splints rest three hollowed-out and brightly-decorated real eggs. The eggs have grown old themselves since the day they were purchased at a Ukrainian holiday fair decades ago, although they don't look like they've changed a bit. Although These curios are real, and they definitely have color, I think I've always preferred their glass replica, and it's the one I'm looking at now as I type these lines.

Happy spring!

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Published on April 12, 2009 5:09 PM.

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