Easter love.

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.

My best friend's front steps, where Easter magic happens.

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.

18 thoughts on “Easter love.

  1. This made me choke up. The “small moments of wonder” that you talk about so often become the big moments of awe when seen through the rear-view-mirror of life. Bitter en Zoet talked about the same thing (kind of) in her comments about noticing the surprising and unconventional beauty of her back yard. I commit to doing a better job of enjoying those moments as and when they happen. Oh, and to get a dog.

    • I’ve noticed that the most effective therapy for the anxiety of dissatisfaction is to stop and soak up those small moments. I feel like this is almost cliche, it is so obvious and old (my grandmother had a small sign in her kitchen with a green frog on it that said, in pink letters, ‘Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers,’ which I guess is basically the same idea). Dogs help in this. They overflow with happiness at simple things: a sunny walk, a rainy walk, a bowl of food, a bone. A tennis ball. (The girl in the photo is Annie, one of the four in the pack between my best friend and I.)

      • I sense we might have a leaping off point here for another post… all about our dogs. Not sure if you’ve seen it, but the series, “The Secret Life of the Dog” so beautifully and elegantly (romantically, even), described the importance of dogs to humankind (which is a different point to the one you’re making, I know, but it’s where my mind went when I read your comment).

        Anyway, it’s a treat to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJQdYG2WHoE&feature=related

  2. I’m so happy that you have found a place that can grow with you. I have always had trouble finding that place. I”m somewhere, I leave full of memories and rose tinted moments, but when I go back something is different. And that displacement is well, charming and stimulating, but sad too.

    I don’t where I heard it once, probably from my grandfather, but it used to be we were grown up and mature when we knew everything, when we’d been there and done that. Outgrown. And then comes a phase in life where we realize how little we know. ‘I don’t know’ which used to feel like an admission of defeat becomes a victory of sorts. I’m glad Missoula has given you that.

    Last, I was laughing the other day because I suddenly saw leaves on trees. I’ve been so untrusting of the spring, thinking it’s too early, it’s a sunny blip, we’ll be back in winter before you know it. So that surprise you’re talking about- yeah, i’ts blinding when it comes. Blindingly beautiful.

    • I know what you mean about the sadness in that feeling of displacement. I’ve felt that many times upon returning to a place where I used to live. It is bittersweet, too– perhaps that sadness somehow reinforces the rightness of where you are now?

      And, about spring: I woke up yesterday to two inches of fresh snow and counting (I am back in West Glacier now), so it seems that we might not be quite out of the woods. When I opened the curtain beside my bed, I let out an almost embarrasing string of expletives at the snow. My need for spring at the moment is apparently rather urgent.

      • You’d all be proud of me – I went for a slow walk on the weekend and paid particular attention to the little things in the quiet but incessantly constant activity of nature (B said this much better than I did, I’m stealing her concept).
        The walk was, for me, an entirely different experience from what I was used to (which typically involves baring myself against all oncoming sidewalk traffic, while remaining wholly focused on getting that Saturday Morning Bagel).

        And during this new-fangled activity referred to as “taking a stroll”, I noticed how, perhaps in direct opposition to each of your experiences (the planet is NOT in good shape), nearly all the trees in Brooklyn are in full bloom. All, that is, except for one tree, half way down our block. It looked like a stunted child. As I walked closer, I noticed one small struggling bud, willing the rest of the un-sprung tree to follow its lead.

        On Sunday, having had such an alarmingly enjoyable experience the day before, I decided to repeat the routine. And you know what I noticed? The entire tree was smothered with litter of little light green buttons. So inspiring! Go little bud, go!

        Here’s what I thought: that life is worth the effort, and yes, it’s hard for all of us, every single year.

  3. ‘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.’

    I feel the same way about many freindships I’ve had over the years. Including ones that I’ve had with some of the women posting on this blog.

  4. Sigh. I have just had the most enjoyable half hour… or more… soaking in the beauty, truth, and literary gorgeousness that is this blog. It’s a rare place in the interwebs that will see me reading every post, let alone every. single. comment!

    It’s incredibly fitting that your blog’s name and your contributor monikers are somehow gustation-related: visiting here is, indeed, like being perched on a stool at a cosy cafe, unabashedly eves-dropping on the conversation being had by the women at the next table. Articulate, honest, life-affirming… forget the carrot cake and latte in front of me, I’m being fed by what I’m hearing in this space.

    Phrases like this, buried deep in the comments of this post, that make me gasp with their truth: “And then comes a phase in life where we realize how little we know. ‘I don’t know’ which used to feel like an admission of defeat becomes a victory of sorts.”

    Or this, from PM (man, that girl can WRITE!) “The entire tree was smothered with litter of little light green buttons. So inspiring! Go little bud, go!”

    So much to chew on in these pages. Thank you for having this conversation, delicious women of MotherSugar. Keep chatting. I’m gonna stay here on my stool and listen in, if you don’t mind?

    • Thank you so for those kind words. We’re delighted to have you there on your stool, listening in! And by all means, do not forget about your carrot cake…

  5. And a funny story about evesdropping: I used to always leave the house with headphones in, my own music studio in my head, until I realized it’s far more interesting to overhear others’ conversations. Whether it’s something as prosaic as, “You have to get off at 14th Street and change to the 6”, to the imagery-rich stories I hear of New Yorkers’ crazy lives… “Yeah I had to take him to the ‘mergency room, but I ain’t goin’ anywhere coz I’m too drunk to stand” … These conversations always, always take me to a different mental place, and reflect also on my own experiences with life. Usually, it makes me extremely grateful, and a little bit humbled.

    Listening can be a meal or a morsel, if you let it.

    And, rehabtrainer, your writing has a pretty magnetic way about it too. Your observation of all the gastronomic references here was significant, and again, I wonder if it may be a topic for another post!

  6. Your post reminded me so much of going to my home town for Christmas. My mom still lives in the same house that I grew up in, and every year I have that same feeling of the old and new colliding.

    It’s amazing how places can hold memories of our past selves. You’ve captured this so nicely! I can see your present selves sitting with the ghosts of your past selves on that porch. Lovely!

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