Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Showers

I love April. Not just because it's my birthday this month or that there's Easter (bunnies and chicks beats out Santa every time for me!), but the weather changes and is changeable. I love interesting weather. You know the Chinese proverb, 'may you live in interesting times'? I like 'may you live in interesting weather'. Okay, providing the interesting weather involves daffodils, sunshine, rain or snow and nothing life threatening!

I had a message from a friend half a world away - he spent part of Easter visiting dead relatives. Yes, that's how he phrased it! Oddly enough, I spent part of Easter visiting dead relatives too!

We visited a part of the family that came out from Europe to farm the land. They lived in isolation, in small communities of four or so thriving families (which led to some rather amusingly tangled family trees and some, I think, sensible maiden aunts). The cemeteries that remain exist in secret hideaways up very rough dirt roads and you walk through long grass, listen to singing frogs, and marvel that people really have been keeping up the graves... even the graves of the very little ones who have left no descendants and died so very long ago.

Here you can see one of the grand old matriarchs of my family, Eva. Apparently Eva had apron pockets full of conversation lollies for the great grandchildren. The latter, needless to say, followed her about hoping for some 'talking lollies,' as they called them, to fall out.

I realised, too, that I naturally gravitate toward my matrilineal line. I work among a wide variety of feminist scholars who talk about the impact of patriarchy, but patriarchy always feels very foreign to me. I grew up in a family of strong, amazing women and the stories I have heard and continue to hear in the kitchens of some of those very women (and even a few of the men who inherited those kitchens and have picked up a thing or two from their wives' old recipe books!) have given me a sense of my matrilineal heritage. Perhaps it's why I never felt that I was in any way inferior as a girl (in fact, quite the opposite - I grew up assuming women were naturally superior!) and, growing up and finding myself at university discussing feminism, I always feel perplexed how anyone could even begin to think women aren't equal. I know it happens. It just seems very odd to me still.

Back to Easter. I didn't have any Easter Eggs! There is a Lindt bunny in the house, but I did obtain some Easter malabrigo!

Oh, and a little postscript to the Easter visits? We spent a week afterward driving along city roads with a rather embarrassed little car dropping chunks of country dirt from its rear whenever we hit a speed bump!


Maria said...

I love visiting cemeteries, would love to know some of the stories behind some of the inscriptions. I love the old, small ones particularly where you can see family connections. The little children ones always make me feel a little sad and when there is a few from one family, I want to know more - like was it a a health issue, community disease etc.
They usually are beautiful places as well with great views

Rose Red said...

Mmmmm, I'd take malabrigo over easter eggs any time!!

drkknits said...

oh yes, all that bright shiny malabrigo, who needs foil and chocolate! sounds like a great weekend, and a nice time for reflection as well.