I am not a religious person but I have always loved Easter. When I was a girl, we’d go to church the night before. My grandmother held my hands in hers to keep them warm, a small thing between us, always, because my hands are known, even to this day, for being ice cold.
The Easter Vigil mass at St. Paul’s was spectacle. It was black night dark even inside, where we entered holding candles. We’d shuffle in the pews soundlessly, creating neat rows of soft, swaying light. The sermon was long but full of quiet song, and we named hundreds of saints, asking, almost humbly, for their prayers.
As the night progressed my candle would melt towards its little paper holder. I’d worry the wavering flame would extinguish too soon. But, as midnight came, I’d hear the booming sound, the eager tribal beat of drums, and my eyes would flicker and turn, as one by one, the lights above came on, one after the other, until the entire church was blazing yellow and gold and gilded again, a small symphony, no longer brewing, but blaring, vibrating through the walls to my jittering insides.
I love this day for the memory of those nights, the hands that held mine, and all the day symbolizes. For the hint of crocus through the dead leaves, the sunrise of daffodils, the rainbow of tulips in their rows. For the newness of light after darkness. For the rising, the discovery, the wonder, the miracle, the tale of rebirth.