By JEFF PICKELL
I walked around the block today, pondering the meaning of Easter, which, even though the Biblical story is about the resurrection of a man (ahem, Man, I should say), it can also be considered a story of rebirth, right?
After all, the Bible recounts the death of Jesus and his rise from the grave as a beginning of a new relationship between man and his Creator. Or am I getting this all wrong?
I’ve been introspective lately. This is kind of an exciting juncture in my life.
My nephew, Johnny Five, is a spring baby. Or will be. My brother John and sister-in-law Stephanie went to the hospital this morning and doctors began inducing labor.
(I should note that I’m writing this on Monday evening).
For some reason, I thought induced labors were kind of like...expedited...labors, that they didn’t take as long as traditional “wait and wait and wait” childbirths. Boy was I ever wrong. The process started about 12 hours ago, and John just told me he doesn’t expect to see his son until the wee hours of the morning.
When I talked to him, Stephanie was waiting for an epidural, after which both she and John planned to nap. John had just finished a hearty dinner of two sandwiches from Panera bread, delivered by my mom.
“I smashed them,” he said. That’s our code for “I wolfed them down.”
“Oh yeah? What kind were they?”
“I don’t know,” said John. “You know the names of those things?”
“Yeah, man. I love that place.”
“One had bacon and turkey and was on big bread.”
“Bacon Turkey Bravo. What was the other one?”
“I don’t know. It had like roast beef and salami and some other meat on it.”
“Oh,” I said. “I don’t think I’ve had that one.”
“Other than that, how are things?”
“They’re good, man. Things are going well,” he said.
“All right. Well I guess I’ll let you go,” I closed. “I love you.”
“Love you too, man.”
Springtime. Birth. Rebirth. The resurrection. The egg and the blossom. The rabbit. The Kora, who comes out of Hell and brings with her the warm season.
The spring archetypes are the happy archetypes. Things go south in the winter, but in spring, everything is almost good again.
I was up nearly all night last night, half-dreaming and half-hallucinating, pastoral pinks and blues and yellows flushing around behind my closed eyes, commingling occasionally to form a pleasant face or a vision:
—Darla the dog
—Sheets, fresh from the dryer, heaped on the kitchen table
—An elementary classmate’s turquoise shoe soles. I chased her.
—Worms glowing under a bridge base.
—A swaddled infant sleeping in the sun.
He was my brother Jamie. My mom said he wasn’t quite ripe when he came out, so she would set him atop a folded comforter in a laundry basket. She would place him in the square of sun that shone through the basement sliding door.
I think this is what the poet William Blake meant when he talked about the sublime—it’s what you feel when you have too many feelings to feel. You just kind of put your mind on autopilot and see what tricks it can pull on its own. Opium helped Blake “break down the doors of perception.” I don’t have his drug connections, so it’s a rare experience for me, coming usually after extended periods of excitement and sleep-deprivation. Like on Christmas Eve.
But last night was better than Christmas Eve. It was like Christmas Eve 2: Christmas Eve-er. Tonight, I suspect, could be even worse—Christmas Eve: With a Vengeance.
I mean, come on! It’s a baby! It’s spring! It’s Easter season! Ham is on the way!
UPDATE—Stephanie gave birth to an eight pound, seven ounce baby Johnny Five a little before 8:30 this morning (Tuesday).– April 4, 2007