April 2010 / Easter After Forty Days of Lent
Reprinted from Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans
"Ain't nothing in the world time and money won't cure."
* * *
Outside, a soft rain washed The City.
Lent is the strangest holiday in all the Christian calendar. Also the longest. Should you need reason to be suspicious of religion's political powers, consider this fact:
Easter is the end of Lent. It is also a ceremony about Spring. Borrowed from religions that came before Christianity nailed down the European world. It may be the oldest human celebration, and it is calculated (or miscalculated), again by Canon Law, with instruments created with faith in suffering and suspicion of pleasure.
Suffering is not to be monkeyed with in theological calculations. Carnival's pleasures, however, are reducible, by God (or His agents with their inaccurate stopwatches).
Lenten fasting repairs Winter's damage and Carnival's excess, and prepares us for Spring's rebirth. Like the jazz man says, "Blow the roof off the sucker ..."
* * *
The live oaks outside our dormer windows are a soft young green. Live oaks don't dump their leaves till Spring's new buds arrive (as followers of J. F. K. conspiracies know). Then they change from old dark green to young soft green almost overnight. Today soft-green rules Big Swamp City, and we old alligators lie on the banks in whatever sun we can find dreaming of Easter baskets and Spring.
(A version of this story first appeared in 2004)
Copyright, 2010, Leonard Earl Johnson