I got the idea to celebrate spring with an Easter egg tree from my across the street neighbor, who is German and moved here with her husband and son due to employment with a major corporation. Though we had spoken outside on the street numerous times, I first crossed the threshold of their home two years ago when she willingly agreed to help me buy train tickets online from a German site for our upcoming travel.
Entering their family room, down a short hallway left of the front door, I was enchanted by the seasonal display on the table. Ramona had cut a forsythia branch from the yard, anchored it in a vase with rocks, and hung it with all kinds of decorated eggs and other small figures connoting spring, like chicks and bunnies. Below, she had placed a store bought bird nest with wood eggs and arranged a colorful cloth. I peppered her with questions about the origin and inspiration for this beautiful presentation. Many of the eggs on the tree were from her husband’s family. She’d purchased other things here in the States at places like Target and Michael’s.
My scheme hatched that instant. In every town during our trip, I was on the lookout for decorative Easter eggs. In Germany and the Czech Republic, they were readily available in souvenir shops, and I came home with a modest collection. Painted wood, painted porcelain and even delicate blown out and painted chicken eggs. Joe wrapped them up thoroughly for me to carry on to the plane, and all survived the flight. Ramona has hives in her back yard, so I bought a wood skep ornament with tiny bees attached as an addition to her tree.
Just before the equinox, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the egg tree called to me. As I grow more and more distant from the Catholicism I practiced for so long, observances have become intuitive, unbound from specific feast dates. It’s hard to articulate the joyful satisfaction of bringing out these beautiful objects, created by hand, many in a country of my ancestry, commemorating a landmark trip with my husband, evoking a bond with my neighbor, symbolizing the Earth’s spring awakening. Perhaps its limited appearance during the year also adds meaning.
I trimmed a branch from the burning bush in back, fetched the rocks and vase and with Joe’s help, hung the eggs. Then I snapped a picture and texted it to Ramona. Of course it snowed two days later, and temperatures mostly dropped for the ensuing two weeks. As I traverse the upstairs throughout the days, the egg tree’s gentle beauty summons hope for spring.