Regardless of one’s religion, spring is seen as a time of rebirth and renewal, and nothing shouts “spring” to me like beautiful decorated eggs.
When I was a child growing up in the Midwest, my mother would hard boil vast cauldrons of eggs in the week leading up to Easter. Once the eggs cooled we’d drizzle vinegar into coffee cups filled with boiling water, add a few precious drops of food coloring, and then carefully dip in the eggs using teaspoons. For variety, sometimes we’d use crayons to write or draw on the eggs before coloring them. Trust me, we’re talking basic, home-spun creations, not decorator eggs. Eggs should never be too pretty to hide — hiding is eggs’ raison d’être.
I still remember the thrill of being a small child filled with serious determination, hunting for the egg creations after my mom hid them. It was extremely important to find all of the eggs, especially when inclement weather forced the hunt indoors. Why? Mom usually forgot where she hid the eggs. If we didn’t find all of them, there would be serious repercussions a few weeks later when nature inevitably took her biodegradable course.
Egg hunts back in Nebraska were nothing like those here in Alaska. Real spring comes far later than in other parts of the country, but people here see themselves as tougher and hardier than folks Outside. Halloween costumes are designed to fit over snowsuits and boots. Easter egg hunts take place outdoors. Don’t even think about moving an egg hunt indoors – no matter the weather – it simply isn’t done. That means Easter egg hunts in Alaska are fraught with a different set of risks than you’ll find in any other part of the country.
A few years back the snow at a local park was so deep that children were stuck waist-deep hunting for eggs. Several kids were reported missing and police were dispatched to try to round them up. That was before a 1,500 pound bull moose (more…)