I adore Easter Eggs! There is something so exciting and wonderful about them: Partly it’s the high level of sheer chocolate heavenliness; partly the symbolism and mythology (so rich, so universal, so sweet!) – and partly the multi-coloured, oh such fun to play with, boxes they come in…
When my next-sister-down and I were little, we used to spend hours and hours playing imaginative games with our emptied Easter Egg boxes. I remember this, in particular, when we used to stay with our maternal grandparents in the Sea Horse Buttery in Totnes. The colourful cardboard became cars and trains, houses and strange secret hiding places for small dolls. I can still reclaim something of that intense sibling bond, the smell of chocolate still lingering on our breath, the atmosphere of the room we were in when trembling fifty-eight-year-old fingers unwrap the egg from its crinkly wrapper and inhale that evocative scent…
This year, I have been given three Easter Eggs! I was hugely touched by these gifts. I love giving them myself – and, like Christmas stockings, they have become part of the festive present-giving in my son’s life.
My first egg was handed to me, completely unexpectedly, on Tuesday – by one of my private pupils. A lovely gesture, much appreciated.
The second one arrived in my room yesterday courtesy of my lovely lad. He knows my tastes so well – and knows, in particular, that, of all the chocolate in the world, Lindt is my absolute favourite. Pride of place, this one has…
And then, this morning, Son and his girlfriend came into my Study and said, ‘Look! Pippa’s doing something really funny outside!’
So, I peered out of the window, expected to see the rabbit hopping around the patio or burrowing her way under her run – but there was no sign of her at all!
‘Where is she?’ I asked the now-giggling pair, then turned round:
Pippa was on my yellow-throw-covered sofa, in her role as Easter Bunny, and, behind her, was a lovely Aero Egg from the Lass:
Fertility, abundance, renewal, rising of sap, beginning of spring, mating of animals, new life, buds and sexuality – all of this and more is suggested by these chocolate ovoids we buy and give to our loved ones each year! Not, you understand, that we think of it in those terms when we nibble a bit of Lindt shell or feel a small Lindor egg melting sensually on our hot tongues.
We don’t spell this side of the Easter Egg story out to our little ones, do we? And yet, I think there is something both enchantingly charming and utterly barmy about these mythology-laden Easter presents – for children! Something so redolent of hope and Vernal Equinox and the celebration of the senses – and the endearing, lovingly-meant, clumsiness that marks so much of human activity. It is the same part of us which rejoices in seeing our children dancing round the Maypole – and then frowns in horror when they start to ask what lies behind this innocent pastime!
But perhaps above all, Easter Eggs are a symbol of the life force itself: Of our appetites; our enjoyment of taste and smell and touch; of our love for one another and wish to give tangible signs of that; of the zinging electrical surge which lies behind everything and which causes such creativity and excitement in our world – and which makes two little girls, aged five and six, turn ordinary pieces of cardboard into their own private myths and legends!