Easter eggs and baskets, plus a sermon by some trees

The Easter Bunny Ear-Years at the Imbrogno-McKeown compound. | theSTORYistheTHING.com | CLICK TO ENLARGE

Given that I am at work on a ‘sorta memoir’ tentatively titled ‘CRAZY DAYS: Confessions of a Fallen Altar Boy,’ you may expect that it has been a long while since Easter Sunday was celebrated as a religious holiday in my house. Among my favorite memories associated with the day, I recall the delight my mother took in rounding up the latest posse of young grandkids (my two young’uns among them, back in the day), transforming her kitchen table into an alchemical laboratory for them to transubstantiate chicken eggs into rainbow-colored Easter eggs. Then, the colorful haul was hidden around the house and yard for the rugrat crew to seek and plop into their Easter baskets. They’d sometimes miss a few. So, around the Fourth of July you might find a smelly, undiscovered orange or green egg beneath my mother’s morning glory trellis out back.

Given its calendar position, we inevitably associate Easter, the religious holiday, with the onset of Spring, a secular thing. It was doubtless designed that way to make the Resurrection story more resonant, since daffodils and crocuses, too, revive, about the same time. It’s probably no coincidence, too, that Christ’s purple resurrection robe — seen widely draped as purple fabric upon small crosses in front yards across the Appalachian outback — is an almost exact match to the color of the purple crocus, bursting forth from April soil to announce the new year’s fecundity to come.

Easter, after all, inaugurates the end of the enervating doldrums of wintry, barren March, trumpeting the promise of light, warmth and growth-to-be. So, while I won’t be wearing a new Easter bonnet to Easter Sunday Mass today, I respect the way the seasons pivot round this holiday and the celebratory marking of a Springtime of renewal, as the holiday itself channels perhaps an ancient echo of pre-Christian, nature-aligned pagan days.

CLICK TO VIEW VIDEO | A production of theSTORYistheTHING.com

So, here’s a ‘Tree Hymn’ in honor of the day and of sunnier, cheerier days to come. It’s a silent sermon — set to an original score by Ron Sowell, myself and Bobby Lee Messer — delivered by some trees that I hung out with this past week. The lovely stand of pine and other deciduous fellows you’ll see in the video above you yourself may visit, in one of two ways. From the back of Valley Park in Hurricane, W.Va., walking paths lead north into the woods. Follow them until you hear the mild roar of Interstate 64, and there you’ll find this geometric stand of tall pines to the right. Or, park at the eastbound I-64 rest area before you get to the Hurricane exit and stroll right into the stand in just a few moments.

In the last couple of years, the Putnam County recreation burgermeisters have erected several Frisbee golf chain-link ‘holes’ beneath the trees. This makes the pine stand far less conducive to solitude, when I’m feeling a churlish, misanthropic urge to flee humanity in favor of the company of a jamboree of pines. But they’re soon on to their next holes. And, after all, the Frisbee golfers are in their bodies, in the world, trying to score a Frisbee hole-in-one with tall pine trees as sentries.

That’s a form of celebration, too.


TITLE: ‘Tree Hymn’ by theSTORYistheTHING.com
GUITAR: Ron Sowell
POEM & PIANO: Douglas John Imbrogno
VIDEO: Hurricane, W.Va. | march2024
YOUTUBE LINK: youtu.be/w2pjgzy58Zw


‘TREES ARE OUR FRIENDS’ | Hurricane, W.Va. | march2024 | Deciduous Photo Bureau of theSTORYistheTHING.com


by douglas john imbrogno

I have no words
for trees to do
them proper justice,

just stand beneath
and with them.
Reminded they

withstand the 
hottest days
and coldest nights.

Stand on, benign.
Bearing forward
tomorrow’s seed.

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