Spring has just started and we of course will have Easter in a couple of days. For many people this is an important religious occasion but the idea of a spring celebration of some sort has been with us since ancient times.
Many places in Europe have a bonfire night at some point during the spring, the idea being that lots of light will chase away the darkness and usher in the longer days more quickly.
Down through the ages and across many cultures there has been an emphasis on rebirth and growth and rejuvenation and young, fluffy animals and, of course, on eggs – those classic symbols of birth and new life.
It’s fun to get together with family or friends to have a few egg fights (with the hard boiled ones, not the raw ones!) to find out which egg will be the “champion.”
As a child I really enjoyed Easter. The whole Easter egg hunt bit was a lot of fun.
I grew up with roasted lamb and roasted salmon at Easter and we often finished off the last of the frozen or canned produce from my mother’s garden from the previous year.
Now, of course, we can get almost anything that we want at any time of year, day or night, as long as we are willing to pay the price. Strawberries from New Zealand during December. Quinoa from South America, a product my parents had never heard of. Wine from South Africa. “On demand” movies at three a.m.
There is, of course, the argument that we should be more cognizant of “eating locally” or should attempt to follow the “Hundred Mile Diet.” The global food industry is seriously contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and our desire for exotic products like quinoa is harming accessibility to the indigenous peoples for whom it is a basic foodstuff.
Despite these arguments, though, I have to say that I’m simply nostalgic for the times when we actually had “food seasons.” Of course, I ranted about a related topic in one of my Christmas posts which you can read here.
Nevertheless, I got rather annoyed when I saw the chocolate eggs gracing the store shelves back in January. They were literally competing with the chocolate valentines. I commented on this to one of the store employees who said that they had no choice but to put them out because they were shipped to them and couldn’t sit in storage. She told me that she had heard the same complaint from other customers, a response that may or may not have been true.
The fact is, there’s nothing special about it any more. Many of us have access to so much plenty that we have no appreciation for where it comes from or for what it takes to land in our stores. We have everything we could possibly want and our expectations keep escalating. A few days ago I watched a teenager of about 14 deliberately damaging her iPhone. She then bragged to the people she was sitting with that it was okay because her parents would get her a new one.
Our desire for whatever we want, when we want it, is inflicting hardship on those with less means. It is causing environmental damage.
We’re fat. We’re complacent.
When I was a kid, I could tell what month it was from what was available in stores and even in my own back yard.
I think it’s Easter. But frankly, given what’s on the store shelves, it could be August. And that’s a little sad.
So, in this season of rebirth and growth, we might want to consider doing a little “growing” ourselves by keeping an eye on where items are coming from. To perhaps buy “locally” more often. To be a little less demanding and a little less entitled. To be a little more in control of our basic narcissism.
To be a little more considerate.
And that’s never a bad thing.