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“It is finished.”

April 11, 2022

It is what is called Holy Week. We do not confer holiness, but we call things names. When I googled “Easter” almost all the images were bunnies and chocolate. We define the word “Easter” this way, now.

This is the 47th of these pieces. There are 2 more poems in the rota I chose as the prompts for these mornings, but they are virtually essays. Nothing I could do except print them. And it is Holy Week.

I do not know, really, what those who do know define as Lent. It was said “40 days, without the Sundays or Holy Week.” Sure. For me, for a decade it was a Mite Box. Then a basket next to my bed. A plump boy’s gorging validated by the Resurrection, then the Grey Lamb and Bright Green Jelly and movie of Hollywood Jesus. That was Easter.

But in a long dead time, that decade from 4 to 13 of my years, which bent me, and everyone else, Easter was different. I was alone with the basket. I was quiet. I knew that I was not alone.

But the context arose, again, after those moments. The screaming humanity of its moment saw two very unhappy people, one unto drinking to drunk every day I knew him outside a hospital, the other coping, one left without he who worshipped her, the other rejected, me left alone. Three are now dead.

Families are what we make them, their gift is what we have, not the outcome of who we want to be. The break for me was not the tension and performance of Christmas, which was a huge Thing Fest – starting with a much screamed-at tree, then greed engorged gifts and, of course, more screaming.

No, Easter was just a gift. A basket I could eat, guilt-free. An unrequested gift or two (one year a skateboard!) and then a service, and Aunt Fanny’s Grey Meat. It was a day of relief. Eating at Aunt Fanny’s (after I ate all I wanted to) meant no screaming at Aunt Fanny’s. Then to bed. With just a little screaming in the car, sometimes.

We name things, but mostly we do not create them. It is odd for an architect to say, but I reveal mostly, I do not invent. But we try desperately to name, control, derive worth in us from what has has been given to us.

A little like Lent.

I sit, biking at Level 25 (Level 25!) and look up at the barn I helped build 20-some years ago. An old red oak beam smashes into new Douglas Fir. Until this moment I thought nothing of the wood posts used 2,000 years ago, as raw, dense and large.

Those beams were used to suspend a person in a way that caused a person’s body weight to prevent breathing – once he was exhausted enough that he could not lift himself up up to get enough oxygen any more to live. Oh, and the nails through the wrists holding him up may have bled him out before, too.

I wonder, what were those posts used for after all those men died?

What are all these words to be used for, after Easter?

All the letters I can write
Are not fair as this —
Syllables of Velvet —
Sentences of Plush,
Depths of Ruby, undrained,
Hid, Lip, for Thee —
Play it were a Humming Bird —
And just sipped — me —

Emily Dickinson

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