This Eastertide I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to live in the relentless goodness of Easter Sunday, not only on the day of Easter, but in all the fifty days that follow. I’m in a new home this Easter, and in a new climate. Here the flowers have burst into bloom all over my yard, and I’ve been reading a book called Braiding Sweetgrass.
Braiding Sweetgrass is a book by an Indigenious botanist, a Potawatomi woman in America who has not only studied plants as a scientist, but who also carries the stories of her ancestors, who saw plants as living beings, worthy of honor.
As I read Robin Wall Kimmerer’s beautiful book, I’m also entranced by the tulips that I planted as bulbs last October, my second week in my new home. Those tulips sat under the frozen ground for months, and I literally did nothing else to them. And here they are, bright and smiling, reaching to the warm sky.
My six-year-old son, Ace, is my farmer-in-training over here. He has helped me set up our two compost bins, one of which is full of slimy, wiggly worms doing the hard work of breaking down the remnants of our smoothies and salads into rich, dark soil. When we bring the scraps to the compost bins, I say, “Ace, time to feed the worms!” We both open the lid and squat down, moving the covering where hundreds of worms have gathered.
Ace is autistic and he has Down syndrome. He is non-speaking, though he tells himself long, wonderful stories that we all wish we could hear for ourselves. For Ace the world is often an overwhelming experience of sensory overload; but in the sun, in the garden, squatting beside our compost full of worms, it’s quiet and squishy. Down below the ground we get a glimpse of a secret, dark worm factory, where all the old and used up and unwanted parts of our food become something new, something that feeds the tulips and nourishes the trees. Ace leans over the bin and turns the corkscrew aerator, and the moment feels holy.
Robin Wall Kimmerer talks about the power of ceremony, how it “marries the mundane to the sacred. The water turns to wine, the coffee to a prayer.”
That’s what we’re invited to do this spring, isn’t it? When we celebrate Eastertide—weeks after the Easter egg hunts and pretty dresses in the sunshine—when we remember that Christ’s life is sustaining us today, as we lean over the pile of compost, or chat with our neighbors across the street, or sit down at our desks to complete the mundane, ordinary work of this day. We remember that our gratitude, our prayer, turns the mundane of this moment into something holy. The old scraps of food into rich, vibrant soil.
Easter is the season for life, for growing, for composting. May we marry the mundane to the sacred every day, every ordinary, beautiful day.