This weekend I drive west. As I make my way along, I’ll think of jellybeans and paper grass.
I always hone in on those two details each Easter season. Maybe it’s because I am a tactile person, or maybe it’s from the sweet memories associated with annual basket and egg hunts. Either way, I find that my steering wheel takes on those textures the closer I get to home.
To pass the time, as I drive, I imagine the satisfaction of digging my fingers into that mound of candy and potpourri. I feel the individual pieces fall through my hands and rub them between my palms. I take in the symphony of smooth jellybeans against rough paper grass. Then I bring the candy up to my nose and inhale. I blow the paper grass out toward my destination and watch as it scatters in the wind, leaving pastel particles across the gray highway.
Some birds fly across my field of vision and I think of all the Peeps I’ll trade my sister in exchange for black licorice. I see her small smile, puffed and bursting with yellow, marshmallow chickens. I flash a black-stained grin and remind myself to check in on her more often.
Soft evening light warms my face as I think of scanning over dewy grass, searching for oval pops of color. Then I picture the vibrant Easter sun bleeding through stained glass. I know my parents’ kitchen is already decorated with palm leaf crosses and towers. I hope they saved a leaf for me to fold.
I roll down the window and am hit with a gust of homemade pancakes and frittata. Then come hints of fresh fruit, warm potatoes and Italian Easter bread. I watch as the dough rises in the oven, filling in around that one egg in the center. Anise spreads across my tongue and creamy chocolate soothes my chapped lips. My stomach growls at the thought of the heavenly brunch waiting for me. Gas station snacks never sounded less appealing.
I find myself humming church hymns ingrained in my subconscious. I spent every formative year sitting in pews. My mind plays louder than the car stereo. It fills the cabin with the smooth resonance of church bells and clanking of heels on cement.
Only a half hour left and the exit signs start displaying familiar names. With each mile I’m closer to the traditions, the meals and the people who keep me coming back each year.
Whether you celebrate Easter or not, I hope you find comfort this weekend.