Norman Knight: True colors of Easter

Ah, a sunny day to sit on the front porch and enjoy bright spring.

Taking in the yellows of the season: Daffodils rising up into the light after a cold season underground; Forsythia’s twisting, reaching shoots of yellow just turning green. The breeze in the budding trees; the taps of the red Pileated Woodpeckers and the “two-weet; two-weets” of a bird I can’t identify. I long to internalize the sensations of this very moment.

I am trying to understand it without words. Trying to take it into my heart and soul without doing that rational examination-thing that is so very human. I want to simply experience the miracle of the moment without thought. I remember from past readings and from my mostly zen-like past meditation practices that by grasping at such things we often lose them. We miss the point. Still, I sit here on the porch making an effort to locate and categorize the two-weet, two-weet bird. So very human.

In this run-up to Easter I have been trying to remember the meaning of the season and incorporate into my heart the significance of the coming Holy Day. During Wednesday evening choir practices I really try to think about the words as I am singing them, and how the music enhances their meaning. As I play my guitar while our trio practices a special Easter song, I ponder the meaning of what we are singing: “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

Later, I rise from the porch chair and leave with Luna for a stroll down the road. She sniffs and follows where her nose leads. She seems to be completely in the moment. Luna moves from spot to spot, and I consider that each stop in her search is a distraction from her last stop. Distractions don’t seem to trouble Luna in the same way they do me. But getting distracted seems to be the way I roll. I’m such a human.

As we move along Luna explores and so do I. I think about the Easters of my life and how many seem to involve spring color. Some of my earliest Easter memories are of my sister Debbie and her pastel Easter outfits. (New clothes for Easter used to be a thing in my young world, and likely still are in some places.)

Sure, my brother and I got something to wear, maybe a clip-on bowtie. But to my mom it was all about my sister’s cute little dress and hat and gloves. After church, we were given baskets filled with artificial grass and went to search out colorful eggs. To my young self, Easter was just another holiday with vague meanings. The only things I truly internalized were the chocolate and the eggs.

As I grew older, I began to understand Easter in different ways. I stopped going to church but from a variety of books and discussions I was introduced to theological concepts and arguments that gave me a framework for how to think about religious matters in general, and Christian ones in particular. At one point I discovered the writings of C.S. Lewis who opened up new worlds — as well as the real world — to me. Idolatry is a very human thing, and one must avoid it, but C.S. Lewis certainly is a Hero of the Faith to me. Eventually, I started going to church again.

Today, as a regular church-going person, involvement in Easter rituals and celebrations can sometimes slip into distractions, at least for me. We are nearing the end of Easter Week. My prayer is to put aside pale distractions and focus on what is real. I want to celebrate the true colors of Easter.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].