To read a little bit more about the bigger project the following is an excerpt from, click on over to January.
April will always be autumn. Seasons are in me like language. As Christmas approaches, despite the dreariness of European Decembers, I hear the sigh of the eucalyptus, feel the heat of the driveway tarmac where we’d find the big, shiny Christmas beetles. And Easter, with its blossoms and lambs and bright eggs hung on bare branches here, will always be, for me, the wistfulness of cooling weather and summer’s sleep.
April this year has begun typically, allowing everyone to say ‘April, April macht was er will’ a phrase that has come to irritate me greatly. Most years, come April, it has been five months and counting of utterly shit weather. November is rainy, December dreary, January cold and wet, February cold and snowy, March cold and wet. The trees have been bare so long, the lush heaviness of summer is almost impossible to recall. And then along comes April. Hail, snow, wind, rain, sun, all within the one hour on a single day. It is the cruellest thing, but it does, I suppose, fit with my memories of Easter. Not the hail part, or the snow, but the cold. I remember Easter being cold, particularly if we spent it in the Southern Highlands, although what felt cold to me then, as a child, was probably weather in which I’d wear a tee-shirt here. Mum would dig our parkas out from wherever they’d been languishing in summer, or we’d be treated to new clothes for the season, having spent the summer roaring around in old gumboots and shorts. Gumboots for the snakes, not for the rain. Easter meant the first smell of smoke on the cold night air. The egg hunt was always chilly, the deciduous trees we had in the garden, turning. But there was colour. Here, there is no colour in the trees, just dots of impossible yellow, the daffodils popping out, the first marchers in the long, slow, spring parade. The trees, naked for months, are hung with dyed eggs in an effort to spruce them up, to entice their recalcitrant blossoms. Autumnal Easter in my corner of Australia was, I am certain, warmer than spring Easter here in the north of Germany – but it felt cosy, nestled in that crunchy warmth of red leaves and the first fire. Whenever I think of Easter, I think of red and mustard yellow. It never occurred to me – unlike the idea of a white Christmas – that Easter could be a festival of spring. But, you know what? After all these years, after eleven Spring easters: for all the pastel pink and mint green decor in the Aldi centre aisle, for all the rabbit-shaped cakes in the bakery windows, the bright foil-wrapped eggs, the crafts the kids bring home from kindergarten – it still feels strangely colourless.