March 30, 2013 4:13:29 PM
Easter is the highest holy day of Christendom. I suspect that most of us have had Easters that we considered high in our experiences. Perhaps it was an Easter of your childhood with a particularly pretty egg hunt. Or maybe it was the year you got a new outfit you always enjoyed.
One of my favorite Easters was not one of my childhood. It was, instead, a holiday when Doug and I took our two oldest grandchildren back to the scene of my childhood. (In those days we had the crazy idea that we were going to be able to take each grandchild on a special trip, but lives -- theirs, not ours -- became too complicated.)
On that Easter weekend our two oldest, cousins, were 7 and 8 years old, and we took them to Washington, D.C. I had lived in Washington when I was their ages, five years in all.
I spent last weekend in D.C. with other family members, one of them being the grown grandson we took to Washington when he was 7. The trip brought back memories of that earlier one.
Back then, the city seemed to welcome us. The cherry trees were in full bloom, gorgeous clouds of pink-tinged white. I used to roller skate around the Tidal Basin beneath those trees in bloom when I was a child.
Japan had given the trees to the United States long before World War II. When the countries were bitter enemies during that war, there were some Americans clamoring in misdirected patriotism that the trees be chopped down.
What a sacrilege! To vent our anger on innocent trees is ridiculous, and fortunately sanity prevailed. I think there is a lesson there somewhere. Hostilities can eventually fade, and beauty lives on. I think that expresses hope for today.
That year we went to Easter services at the National Cathedral. We were in one of the small chapels which did not hold a big crowd. The priest selected our grandchildren to help, to participate in some way in the service. I hope they remember it better than I.
We did all the touristy things with the children -- the Capitol, the monuments, the Smithsonian, Mount Vernon. We did not make them write journals, but we did ask them to draw pictures for us of the things that impressed them. One drew pictures of food.
Far away from our capital city, aware of the hostility in government, we tend to forget the city's beauty, never prettier than it was for us on that Easter long ago. My prayer is that its beauty will trump its friction, like the cherry blossoms in World War II.
Political difficulty is a reality. But beauty is a reality, too.
Betty Boyls Stone is a freelance writer, who grew up in Columbus.