Yesterday was the first snowy Easter I can remember. I went for a walk and found, among other things, a loose jumbly nest of sticks at the top of a Hercules’-club tree that cradled a small mound of snow, and not far away, an egg-shaped melt-spot on the surface of a rock, resting in the shadows of branches. Without meaning to, it seemed, I’d gone on an Easter egg hunt. It made me think back…
Easter morning when I was small
meant candy — the first since Halloween;
a gift or two, usually including a new kite,
which I would struggle valiantly to fly
in the mountaintop’s transverse winds;
& a half-dozen eggs I had helped
to dye myself, those that weren’t already
sea-green or blue because they’d been laid
by one of our Araucana hens. We used
all-natural materials, especially
onion skins, which imparted a yellow
or orange tint depending on how long
we left the eggs in the dye bath.
Wrapping them in ferns or tree leaves
made lacy patterns where the veins
lay against the shell. It was as if
we were enacting a dream of barnyard fowl
to return to the trees.
Somehow even knowing what we would find,
& despite the fact that hard-boiled eggs
can’t compete for taste sensation with a chocolate bar,
it was still exciting to paw down through
the green plastic straw — reused year
after year — & lift them out, bright & smooth
as pebbles on a beach. Cracking such an egg
was a solemn occasion.
It made us mindful, admiring the shell
even as we split & crumbled it, & underneath
the slick flesh no longer white, but onion-colored.
The last discovery then would be a bit
anti-climatic: the yolk a dark orange
as with any egg from a chicken that’s free to roam,
to bathe in the dust, & for whatever reason,
madly flapping in front of oncoming cars,
to cross the road.