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Editorial: Some thoughts on the season of rebirth

The yearly enchantment of spring has brought West Virginia’s hills and valleys back to life. The bitter cold winter didn’t prevent the sudden blossoming of green buds, sprouting flowers and other joys. Charleston became ablaze with flowering trees — far more than exist in forests.

Since ancient times, northern people have felt elation at this season, when the planet reaches the point in its orbit where the “top” end of the globe begins tipping toward the sun, bringing more direct warmth. Historically, people have given eggs and flowers at springtime to mark renewed life. In ancient Egypt, rabbits signified regeneration. The symbols remain.

Eostre was the Teutonic goddess of spring, and her festival was called Eostur — which apparently led to the word Easter. Christianity added a new dimension, designating the holiday as the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection. Renewed life in the savior coincided with renewed life in nature.

Once again, we reprint some special words — religious and natural — for this holiday:

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“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdelene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.” — Matthew 28

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“Awake, thou wintry earth — fling off thy sadness / Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth your ancient gladness / Christ is risen.” — Thomas Blackburn, An Easter Hymn

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“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” — The Song of Solomon, c. 200 B.C.

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“Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves. Now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.” — Virgil, Eclogues III, 37 B.C.

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“In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnished dove / In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” — Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall, 1842

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“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to love, but a family man’s duties turn heavily toward the household chores.” — Max Lerner, The Unfinished Country

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“Spring bursts today / For Christ is risen and all the earth’s at play.” — Christina Rossetti, Easter Carol

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“The course of the seasons is a piece of clockwork, with a cuckoo to call when it is spring.” — G.C. Lichtenberg, Reflections, 1799

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“In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing.” — John Milton, Tractate on Education, 1644

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“Everything is blooming most recklessly. If it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.” — Rainer Maria Rilke, letter

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“The year’s at the spring, and day’s at the morn / Morning’s at seven, the hillside’s dew-pearled / The lark’s on the wing, the snail’s on his thorn / God’s in his heaven - all’s right with the world.” — Robert Browning, Pippa Passes

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“For the urban population, spring is heralded by less celestial signs — not a wedge of geese in the sky, but a span of new-plucked terriers on the avenue, or a potted hyacinth groomed for April.” — E.B. White, Every Day is Saturday

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“Spring is here, and I could be very happy, except that I am broke.” — Edna St. Vincent Millay, letter

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“April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.” — T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

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“Every year, back Spring comes, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off, and the ground all mucked up with arbutus.” — Dorothy Parker, quoted in An Omnibus of American Humor

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“O chime of sweet Saint Charity, peal soon that Easter morn / When Christ for all shall risen be, and in all hearts new-born.” — James Russell Lowell, Godminster Chimes

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“Turn swiftlier round, O tardy ball, and sun this frozen side / Bring hither back the robin’s call; bring back the tulip’s pride.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, May-Day, 1867

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“‘Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees / filled the air with fragrance and with joy.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Spanish Student

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“The English word ‘Easter’ came from the Anglo-Saxon Eastre or Estera, a Teutonic goddess to whom sacrifice was offered in April, so the name was transferred to the Pashal Feast. The word does not properly occur in scripture, although the King James translation has it in Acts 12:4 where it stands for Passover.... There is no trace of Easter celebration in the New Testament.” — International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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“In the spring, I have counted 136 different types of weather inside of four-and-twenty hours.” — Mark Twain

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“Spring makes everything young again, save man.” — Jean Paul Richter, Hesperus, 1795

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“It is spring everywhere, and everywhere in the pastures the udders are swelling with milk, and the lambkins are suckling.” — Theocritus, Idylls, 270 B.C.


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