Bunnies, eggs and the fall (not spring)..
April 17, 2011
From an early age I was perplexed by the symbolism of Easter. I knew the religious story well, I have cellular memories of the stations of the cross. Then easter came and we looked for eggs. New life, I know, but a resurrection is different from a birth.
Finally, when I arrived in New Zealand I heard a story of the Easter Hare. It gently weaves religious symbolism and seasonal influence with bunnies and eggs..(Not an easy feat)
(Photo is from the easter celebration celebrate at the Steiner kindy with more overt religious symbols of grape juice and hot cross buns. )
An Autumn Easter Story
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl and a little boy in a cottage with a beautiful garden looking out into a glade of bird- filled trees.
Autumn had come. The summer leaves had fallen from the gum trees and were now joined by the red, yellow, and brown leaves of the trees who bear their branches before winter, giving their leaves to the earth as a blanket. The little girl and boy were sad that summer was passing. They made their way to a secret part of the garden tangled in creepers and knotted in branches. There stood the old apple tree, still bearing bright, read rosy apples each Autumn. The children loved the apple tree. It was so old and gnarled and its strong branches stood out like strong arms to embrace them. The children felt snug and safe in the apple tree, and what’s more is that the apples polished up shiny and smooth and crunched with juicy sprays as they ate them.
Now, as they sat polishing their apples, they sat smiling at each other remembering the secret their granny had told them:
“Inside each apple is a star which father sun leaves us as he journeys to the other side of the world with his warmth and light. The star will give you strength and courage through the autumn and winter months and will remind you always that father sun will always return in the spring. Let the star in the apple guide you to do good deed which will light your way through the darker months.”
The children cut open their apples and sure enough, there was Father Sun’s secret message shining up at them. It made them feel happy and strong and they were sure that when they ate the star, they felt a twinkle of starlight in their tummies. Straight away, they began on a good deed; the children began polishing apples for everyone in their family.They were very industrious, polishing, polishing polishing and more polishing when all of a sudden, they heard a rustle in the bush.
The little girl gave a big jump as under the bush, she saw the biggest Hare she had ever seen.
“Do not be alarmed,” he said,”I am a messenger from the other side of the world where spring has come and we rejoice for Father Sun has returned, so too in the depths of the earth a light is shining which fills us with love and hope. I bring you a gift, so that you will rejoice with us, for this light and love should be shared with all mankind.”. Then the hare gave the little boy and girl each an egg. “In the center of the egg is a golden sun. As you eat your egg, take the golden light into your hearts and rejoice.”
The children were filled with wonder, so much so that at first they couldn’t speak, but as the hare turned to hop away, the little boy said, “Here, take this with you as a gift from the side of the world where father sun has left to bring his light and warmth to you. Inside is a star, a gift from Father Sun, as your egg fills us with love and rejoicing, may our apple’s starlight bring you strength and courage when autumn returns to you.”
The hare took the apple carefully and smiled at the children with great love in his eyes, then with a hop and a rustle, he was away. Every year, the easter hare visits from the other side of the world with his message. When he finds a polished apple waiting for him, it brings him ever more rejoicing.