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Edie at home in her kitchen.

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The View from Mary's Farm

April Surprise

The View from Mary's Farm for April 2004

April Surprise

Waiting for Easter sometimes parallels the wait for warmth. What will it be? We never know. Last year, snowstorms came, woven in with warm days, some in the 80s. Our family Easter plan was for my cousins to gather here at the farm for an Easter feast that included lamb and egg braid. My cousin Mac and his wife Marcia had been living in Nepal for the past 8 years and this was their first Easter at home in all that time, so this year seemed particularly festive. Mac grew up on the North Shore of Boston and a couple of weeks before our gathering he called to ask if I had the photo of the Snow Bunny. I hadnít thought of that picture in years but it was a family favorite, an enormous rabbit made of the snow that had fallen that Easter morning in 1955. The Bunny was as big as a grown man, ears straight up like fresh corn, haunches strong: a masterpiece. They had truly made the most of that April surprise.
At one time, I recall that my grandmother kept that photograph in a frame on a table in her living room. I paged through the albums, looking for the old favorite, going deeper and deeper into the trough of memory as I went. My cousinsí mother, my Aunt Peg, had died the month before and so each photo I came across of her demanded particular study. She had great zest for life and her wonderful laugh could almost be heard, coming from the images stuck to the pages. At last I found what I was looking for. In fact, there were several photos of the big bunny. In one, my cousins, in their snowsuits and galoshes, are posing proudly in front. In another, my uncle, in tie and jacket, is putting the finishing touches on those wonderful ears. And in yet another, my cousin Susan is propping a hockey stick against his perfectly formed paws. The sun is full and in the background, Manchester Harbor is visible, a single lobster boat the only thing afloat. I pulled the best one from the album and put it into an old frame.
All week I found myself wishing a snowstorm would come on Easter, so that we might create a 21st century version of the Snow Bunny. But the day dawned, bearing warm sunshine. There was still a bit of snow at the edges of the fields and here and there where the plow had piled it high through the long winter. In the morning, with the smells of the lamb roasting in the oven, I opened the windows and let the breezes in.
I enjoy setting the Easter table, perhaps more than for any other time of year. I keep a collection of decorated eggs, some I made myself and some I bought on a side street in Prague many years ago. I also have a collection of little bunnies, which emerge from the drawer and decorate the table. I like the colors of Easter, too, yellow and purple and bright greens and I always try to include them in the setting. Sometimes, I have cultivated a small pot of green grass for the center of the table. We are so hungry for it. Our gathering was to number 15 and so the chairs at the table were close and cozy. I took time to place the eggs and the bunnies around the table and various other places in the room. When I was done, I put the framed photo of the Snow Bunny in the center. As we gathered, everyone studied it and recalled that day as if it were yesterday.
After dinner, we went out and sat on the screen porch, enjoying the spring warmth. No Snow Bunny this year. Thank goodness.

Edie Clark

Selected Works

Articles
In 1992, the Bishop of Worcester condemned St. Joseph's Catholic Church and ordered it closed. The parishioners refused to leave, sleeping on cots and on the hard pews. For thirteen months this was their life. In July of 1993, they were removed by the police. In many ways this was the blossoming of their faith. Originally published in Yankee Magazine in November 1993.
Growing up, nothing I could do seemed to please my mother and nothing she said made sense to me. But when my mother, on the threshold of death, came to live with me, I found what seemed to have been lost forever. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1995
(The follow-up article to Miracle at St. Joseph's.) The Bishop turned to them and said, "Your prayers have been answered, the hard hearts have softened." Originally published in Yankee Magazine, December 1996
A reflection on the power of cooking and friendship and the concept of family. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, November/December 2007
Memorial Day, Harrisville, New Hampshire 1995. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1996
My Articles
Libraries occupy a special place in the heart of a town. Evening events at the library give a strong sense of community and make it seem like a great place to live. And in the wake of the online revolution small town libraries have found a way to not only survive but to be indispensable.
In December 2008 an epic ice storm left virtually the entire state of New Hampshire without power. The residual effects of that storm paralyzed the Monadnock Region almost through Christmas. A first person account.
In 1994, sixteen-year-old Billy Best was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. After several treatments, he ran away to avoid chemotherapy. What happened after that may have been a miracle.
Roxanne Quimby once lived primitively in the Maine woods. Today she owns 90,000 acres of those woods, and her goal is to create a national park to preserve the landscape forever. So why do so many people wish she'd just go away?
Multi-million dollar border stations are rising along our line between US and Canada. What was once the "friendliest border" has become deadly serious.
Renowned short story writer, Andre Dubus, reflects on the accident that cost him his legs.
A trip to Poland discovers a beloved family friend
An elegy for the master of the short story.
Fall comes to The County
Thousands seek healing from this innocent, comatose child.
A complete listing of articles published since 1978
Fiction
An encounter with a sick fox brings a young woman to the heart of her grief