With thoughts of impending Spring, we observe gardens and hedgerows around us coming back to life. And alongside the welcome lighter mornings and nights, it seems only natural to experience a sense of anticipation, expectation and growth.
As nature around us changes, so do we, and despite the technology that impacts and distracts us, the simple pleasure of a walk, with a breath of fresh air in the magnificent countryside that surrounds Consett, can almost always lift our spirits and bring us hope.
This universal consciousness lives within all of us, feeding our natural rhythms, and our desire to be at one with nature.
Just the other day I was discussing Easter with one of my friends and we started talking about its origins.
Apparently The Venerable Bede – who’s tomb is in Durham Cathedral – a 7th century Anglo – Saxon historian, tells us that the word Easter comes from Eostre, who was alleged to be the ancient goddess of fertility and dawn. She also seems to be associated with the countryside, the moon, a sacred animal, the hare, the sacred symbol, the egg; and the waking up after winter.
Well, we could all do with that, and perhaps that is why early Christians embraced the ancient traditions and pagan spring festivals to help synchronise, explain and understand their beliefs, as these are all signs of new life.
Easter can be a difficult time to understand, as unlike Christmas there has to be a death before a resurrection and celebration; and it’s all done and dusted in one weekend, with all the emotions that go with it.
As a young child living in Consett, we were taught in school about Good Friday and the death of Jesus on the cross. I remember questioning should something like that be termed as ‘good’, it was only when I got older, I understood.
Anyway, as kids we were all preoccupied with being sweet and chocolate deprived, having given them up for Lent; so were focused on looking forward to delicious eggs on Easter Day. I remember always getting a new coat or spring outfit for the celebrations too, usually from C&A in Newcastle.
Furthermore, there was the other distraction of getting costumes made for the Fancy Dress Parade at St Patrick’s Easter Fayre; held in the school yard on the bank holiday Monday. I recall getting a prize the year I was dressed up as the Royal Nanny with four of my dolls wearing crowns, while sporting the costume, lovingly made by my Mam.
Perhaps that inspired my love for dressing up, as even when I was older I relished any opportunity to don an outfit. I came across some photos of these occasions recently, and I couldn’t help smiling when I saw myself and my late husband Stewart dressed as rabbits!
So, the Easter we know now, embraces all these traditions from our communal past, mixed with the richness of the new; and whichever way we look at it, it’s a time to celebrate new life.
After recently having a cholecystectomy – which in laypersons terms is removal of the gallbladder – I can safely say, that I feel myself coming back to life!