Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter, Happy Spring!

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

Today is Easter and this year it falls roughly half-way between the earliest and latest possible dates.

As I mentioned in my blog post two weeks ago, we experienced the warmest March on record here in Wisconsin. The Pasque Flowers (also known as the Easter Flowers) were blooming already on March 24. The average date for these flowers to bloom is around the middle of April.

Two weeks ago, there were daffodils and tulips in bloom. Ruth and I went photographing this morning and we saw more daffodils and tulips. I guess the return to more normal temperatures has helped these flowers to last for our viewing pleasure.

Still, it’s unusual to see the lilacs in full bloom and blossoms on the apple trees about a month earlier than normal.

As Ruth and I drove along a quiet country road this morning, a little white animal came out of the ditch and onto the road. At first, we thought it was a dog. Then it turned and we realized that it was a little lamb that had somehow escaped the fenced-in pasture where all the other sheep were.

We thought this was an appropriate sign of Easter, but we were worried for the lamb’s safety. As we watched, it went back into the ditch and tried to find a place in the fence where it could crawl back into the pasture. But it wasn’t having any luck. What to do, what to do. It’s 7:00 am on Easter Sunday. Well, we can’t just drive away and let the little one fend for itself!

So I turned the car around and we drove into the driveway nearest the pasture. I went up to the porch and bravely rang the doorbell. A minute later, a man came to the door in his pajamas. Thankfully, he was the owner of the sheep and we were once again on our way down the backroads.

And then I thought I saw the Easter Bunny, but it turned out to be an ordinary wild rabbit. Just kidding, of course.

There are many symbols and miracles surrounding Easter. One of those symbols is a simple cross…three of them, actually. On our trip to North Carolina in 2010, we visited a church that had three crosses on the lawn next to the church.

Speaking of crosses, twice now, Ruth and I have seen a cross in the sky and we take pause when we see something like this. The first time, it was more like a miracle. In 2007, on a January photography trip to Crawford County, Wisconsin, we were starting to head home and we stopped to photograph huge icicles that were hanging from a shed roof. As I got out of the car, I noticed a very unusual X-shaped cloud in the sky. I pointed it out to Ruth and, right before our eyes, the cloud shifted forming a cross. We were dumbfounded.

Three years later, just after dawn, we saw another cross in the sky.

Easter is an important religious holiday, but it is also a time for kids. On Friday, Ruth and I visited our sister, Peggy, and colored Easter eggs with our nephews, Sam and Toby. As always, they gave us lots of reasons to laugh.

I hope everyone who reads this blog post had a joyous Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter and Happy Shunpiking!

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