of brown eggs and hot cross buns

For years, I have understood “Easter” to come from an ancient pagan goddess worshipped by Anglo Saxons namedEostre. An unrelated fact: eggs were a symbol of fertility in part because they used to be so scarce during winter. There are records of people giving each other decorated eggs at Easter as far back as the 11th century.

Today, however, I learned that only one historical writing references such a goddess. Furthermore, I learned that there is quite an ongoing controversy about Eostre that includes her various names, her role as goddess of dawn, fertility and rebirth and her role in celebrations of spring. And this:

In “The American Book of Days,” George William Douglas writes: ‘As the festival of Eostre was a celebration of the renewal of life in the spring it was easy to make it a celebration of the resurrection from the dead of Jesus. There is no doubt that the Church (of Rome) in its early days adopted the old pagan customs and gave a “Christian” meaning to them.’

After some hours of reading tale after refutation, I concluded that interpretations and celebrations of Easter are a random collection of Christian, pagan, culture, and circumstance. Mine, too. A mix of early childhood traditions (I still send my grown children a dark chocolate bunny and small gift). Of the necessity for fresh asparagus sometime during the day. Of personal predilection toward clearing the garden in eager anticipation of that spring-to-summer rush only those of us living in extreme northern climes truly appreciate. And my annual quest for The Perfect Hot Cross Bun.

Just imagine my delight this morning when my husband lovingly placed on our table a single brown egg he had hard-boiled yesterday. For me. As a simple spring token honoring my beliefs, while initiating a more intentional blend of our traditions going forward. Add to that my great luck in finding the best Hot Cross Bun recipe ever – and gluten free, at that! Within her first paragraph, Nicole writes “Warm, sweet and fragrant, your gluten-free hot cross buns should taste just as good as you remember. If they don’t, something’s not right. “Good for gluten-free” isn’t.good.enough.” You know you’ve struck gold with a source like that. The. Best. Ever.

So slip into something comfortable. Grill up your asparagus with extra virgin olive oil and lots of garlic. Warm up just one more exquisitely perfect HCB from the morning’s batch. And top it all off with one last dark chocolate bite of bunny. I hope your Easter has been as happy as mine.

Hot Cross Buns cooling

Just out of the oven long enough for the icing to stay on

brown egg

One perfect hard-boiled brown egg

Lake Champlain Chocolate bunny

Lake Champlain Chocolate’s dark placesetting bunny

early garden

Early garden poking through. Credit – Greenwalks

springing back and forth


Recently, I went to visit my daughter for spring break. I arrived to a two-hour time difference, only to arrive back home one week later to a three-hour difference. Just one of many differences between Arizona and Vermont.

What this does to a winter-habituated body is curious. One day I’m walking in 95-degrees, face toward the sun, opening confidently upward like the butterflies we watched wake up at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The next, I’m cocooned back under a foot of snow, wondering just what Punxsutawney  Phil was up to six weeks ago. A coyote in groundhog’s clothing, apparently [see spoof recommending his indictment].

The good news is, the body knows its cycles and I along with it. I am proud to live in a climate where winter is winter and, well, summer is summer. There is no denying it – when the snow is well past (say, by the end of May – although the June snowfall is not unknown in these parts), gardeners flock to mud patches like crows to seed. And transform them into incredibly beautiful plots that nourish body and senses. In remarkably short order. I can’t speak to the drama of spring to someone living in, say, Arizona. But I do know that last week it was very, very green. And that by summer, it will be very, VERY brown.

So feast your eyes on the two sides of spring I moved between last week. Enjoy them both, as I did. It’s not everyday you get to experience two completely different seasons on the same first calendar day of spring!

beneath my words

      thanks to “Hidden,” by Naomi Shihab Nye

feelings, thoughts, hope more
visible each passing day

working into light, the page,
awareness of their presence

and mine growing softer
edges, stronger heart;

muscled words crafting
life    versed   manifest

time layering the trail
of then to now, deepening

as winter’s seed potent
with spring blooms
silent passion into change
one season to the next.


urgency of doing

DaVinci image copy

from the exhibit, Phoenix Science Center

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo DaVinci

International Women’s Day has, as the saying goes, been and went. Where was I? Traveling. To Phoenix. And visiting the incredible DaVinci exhibit at the Phoenix Science Center. Where I read and copied his quote, above. Which reminded me of the recent International Women’s Day, how across the globe and across our own nation multiple events were held to celebrate women. In fact, according to the official site, some 256 events were held across the US alone in honor of the day.

Sifting through the 26 pages of listings, I learned that the events covered the spectrum from celebrations of the goddess to farm women, from politics to the very personal, from the disabled to the business-savvy and beyond. They included face-to-face dances, fundraisers, awareness campaigns, on-line forums and meet-ups, flashmobs, workshops and networking events. What all these events had in common was at the heart of DaVinci’s words: “WE MUST DO”. So what I am doing is creating a found poem from the titles of a handful of the events and activities in tribute to the many women worldwide who are striving to make change, to make a difference to local communities, global systems, young girls, the ill and the ordinary.2013 intl womens day


Women’s empowerment, strategies for change —
international women in leadership changing
the landscape to drive business; inspirational
women as change agents, making global progress.
Accessing energy for women’s health and security,
preventing and mitigating conflict. Stopping violence
against women everywhere, ending misogyny;
women at risk celebrating survival, celebrating
love and respect toward women with disabilities, walking
for Afghan women’s lives.

Empowering women changing lives:
honoring women ambassadors,
gender in agriculture, women
putting food on the table,
celebrating goddesses.

Screening and discussing movies,
celebrating speech and women artists
aware of action; reading poetry,
chatting on twitter, a flashmob
for peace – local women making
an international impact, women and the social media
impacting the world.

Women and their spiritual paths
dare to dream, get to know
their mother-daughter herstory.
Self-confidence, pride and beauty
make the avenue work. Leaders.
Clients. Women, the emerging market.