I have giddy, childlike love for Easter’s happenings: the first signs of spring, the sudden influx of color, the daffodils and tulips, the chocolate bunnies. Just when it seems like we will be stuck in the gray, barely thawing dregs of winter forever, we are reminded: oh, right, I will walk barefoot in the grass again. Every year it comes as almost a surprise.
This year, my Easter was both new and old. I woke up in Missoula in my best friend’s house (both of our husbands gone, hers earning his Masters abroad and mine on a river in the middle of the Idaho wilderness) — the same house and the same best friend of my Easter eight years ago, when many things were different. For one, eight years ago, her living room walls were still lined with wood paneling. Now they are crisp, pale green. Then, my best friend’s older sister’s name was on the lease to the place; now my best friend owns it. Eight years ago, the two of us sat on the front step eating stir-fry out of mismatched ceramic bowls, talking about my two-day-old relationship with a guy who she had introduced me to. Now I am married to that guy, and she is married to his roommate. You see: new and old.
In the eight-year interim between these two Easters, my best friend had left Missoula with, it seemed, no intention of returning, lived in Portland and Boulder and Bend, spent long stretches of time in many of the world’s most beautiful and interesting places, started businesses, bought her dream house, felt wrong in her dream house, and moved back to Missoula into (an updated version of) the small, charming cottage she shared with her sister for a year in college. I had also left Missoula, lived in New York City for two years, made it through graduate school, bought a house in a small northern town near my husband’s burgeoning whitewater rafting business, decided I couldn’t hack the snowy, unpopulated winters in said northern town, and drove down to Missoula to spend a few days with my best friend.
We spent the day before Easter watching The Voice in bed, recovering from a carefree night of college-grade gallivanting. We spent the day after Easter clicking away on our laptops, busy with our own business projects. On Easter, as we ate brunch, sat in the sunshine, played cards and drank cocktails, I was struck by small moments of wonder. We once thought we knew all there was to know about this place. We both had moments of believing we had outgrown it. But now, graciously, this place we love makes room for us again, allows us to build something new in it, grows with us.