It's Easter Sunday, and I'm making bread. I bought a ham, on a craving, and asparagus for who knows what reason, because honestly, I hate asparagus. But I'm making bread and feeling nostalgic and wanting Easter. It's not the spiritual aspects of the holiday I'm missing; I would be hard pressed to tell you the Christian or Pagan reasoning behind today, and forgetting those stories, barely learned, does not feel like much of a loss. What I miss is the lifetime when I was small and Easter was very big and always meant specific things, like ham, and asparagus, and onion skin dyed eggs and an Osterkranz to slather with butter. It meant Oma and Opa's house, usually, and tights, and the snowdrops would be up, and it was different every year because we were different, but it was somehow always the same.
These holidays have changed for me since moving- specifically Thanksgiving and Easter. When you live in the same place your whole life, everything is a touchstone. You walk down the street in a mix of past and present. There's the stop sign with the stickers still on the back from the love letter you taped there 8 years ago. There's the lot where your high school boyfriend's house used to be, where you grilled pineapple and threw pebbles up for the bats and broke his heart. Right there. There's the dam you crashed your bike on, the pond you caught carp in, the diner booth you cried out your own broken heart in. The memories slip by, unobtrusive, and then you leave and they stay anchored to those spots.
Maybe it's good to leave those touchstones behind and walk through a day fully present. But I miss them terribly. The holidays have become a way to resurrect them, for a brief period of time. Thanksgiving and Easter have such strong food-ritual traditions that they seem to drag other memories out with them. After the past year of change, I am more than happy to welcome them back on occasion. So we dyed eggs. I bought a ham. But instead of my mama's Osterkranz recipe, I'm making the Tassajara lemon twist bread, and remembering being 17 and learning how to make bread the first time, and that house on Main street that is gone now, and finding eggs in the snow drops, and all of those lifetimes before Chicago and right now.