I was so impressed by the success of our family’s Lenten tree that I decided to do yet another crafty-wafty thing.
Years ago, someone at my mom’s group made an Easter garden, and I thought it was a cool idea, but I never did it myself because I’m not artsy-fartsy. That was my excuse anyway. The truth is, things like this intimidate me. I always worry they’re going to look lame and I’m going to feel lamer.
But the Lenten tree turned out okay. Better than okay. So I summoned my courage and enlisted my kids’ help, and together we made an Easter garden.
It turned out beautifully.
The basket is what I usually keep my cleaning supplies in. The path is made of plum pits – Jack’s idea because he and Jane couldn’t find enough flat rocks – the little pond is a tea light holder, and the tomb is a baby food jar that Jack coated with mud (also his idea; what would I have done without his creativity?). We each picked out a plant at the nursery.
We made the garden on Maundy Thursday and lit the candles at dinner. After our meal, Jane blew out the candles. They would remain unlit throughout the Triduum, their little black wicks a reminder of the Light going out of the world.
On Friday, Jack rolled the stone in front of the tomb and made a purple origami butterfly, which he set on the sideboard. “You have to put in on the tomb on Easter,” he told me.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Because,” he said, “it’s like Jesus. Like that Caterpillar poem. You know, Spin and die / To live again a butterfly.”
Somehow I hadn’t made the connection between butterflies and the resurrection. I know. I know. What hole have I been living in?
Holy Saturday we left the candlewicks black, the stone in front of the tomb, the butterfly on the sideboard.
On Sunday morning (early! we had breakfast at six), I lit the candles, rolled away the stone, and placed Jack’s butterfly on top of the tomb. Then I lit the white Easter candle, and Doug and I went into their room to wake them up.
I placed my hand on Jack’s head, buried under the covers. “Christ is risen!” I said.
He was already awake. He popped his head out, a grin on his face. “He is risen indeed!”
He hopped out of bed, and Doug carried Jane, and we all stood in the dining room, grinning at the Easter garden, at the lit candles lining the path to the empty tomb and the purple butterfly ready to take wing.
The poem Jack quoted is Christina Rosetti’s “The Caterpillar.”
And it’s not too late to make your own Easter garden: Easter lasts 50 days, till June 12.