Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Did you decorate eggs this year? Once again, Easter has crept by me on that count, but it's not for lack of appreciation for the art.

When I was small, I loved those plastic sleeves that shrunk around the egg, not because they were quick (coloring eggs strikes me as being more fun) but because it was fascinating to watch the edges curl tightly when you lowered the egg into boiling water. (They were, of course, impossible to get off afterwards when you were actually expected to eat the egg.)

The dyes would have made any alchemist think his life's work quite in vain, transforming an ordinary mason jar into a lamp from beyond the borders of the world. The kitchen reeked of vinegar, the smell, it seemed, of creativity, and there on the table, hoarding light in their mysterious depths were the jars. The orange jar was the most brilliant, and the most mysterious because when you dipped an egg in, it always came out unmistakeably yellow. The blue jar had its own brand of miracle, because it was like a starless sky at midnight, more black than blue, really, but any egg that disappeared below its unsounded surface would reappear as brilliant as the sky at noon.

In the weeks following Easter, eating dyed eggs was an expected, though not particularly prized ritual. Peeling them was a good deal of fun; the whites inside had become a paler version of the shell. But eating them? They tasted suspiciously like hardboiled eggs, no matter what color they were. They had the looks, alright, but somehow they couldn't compete with chocolate eggs.

One of these years, I am going to think ahead and buy a set of dyes (the plastic sleeves are tempting, but an all-too-fleeting pleasure) to see if it was as much fun as I remember, though, in my old age, I suspect that I would spend more time staring at the stained-glass qualities of the not-really-orange jar than I would thinking of creative ways to use it.

In the meantime, here is a gorgeous gallery of the be-all, end-all of Easter arts: Pysanky Eggs!

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