Signs of Spring by Nancy Mugele

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Last Saturday at Kent School we offered a free Egg Dyeing event for the greater community in advance of Easter Weekend. The turnout was wonderful as moms and dads decided to leave the mess with us, and took home beautifully decorated eggs. Along with the traditional cups of dye and lots of bright paint, our inventive Little School teachers created bags of food-coloring-infused uncooked rice which served as a shaker for eggs. I had as much fun as the children shaking my egg, like a chicken leg in a Shake ‘N Bake bag, and the resulting speckled shells were simply surprising! A great morning was had by all.

Dyeing eggs was my least favorite “mom” activity to do with my children (with the exception of helping them learn how to drive a car, but that is another story). I did not like the mess, or the dye soaked into my fingertips for days. Somehow a cup of the dye always spilled, soaking the newspapers we had carefully spread, and dripping dye on the table surface and the floor.

As Easter approaches each year, people around the world make hardboiled eggs and dye them brilliant colors. Did you ever wonder why? There may be many reasons, some religious, but at the heart to me, eggs are symbolic of rebirth and new life, making them a meaningful part of the celebration of springtime.

In my childhood, we dyed eggs each year and ate them at Easter Brunch. The first time I had Easter with Jim’s family, I admired the beautifully dyed eggs on the tablescape. As I reached for a hardboiled egg and proceeded to crack and peel it, the entire table froze and no one said a word. One of Jim’s sister’s finally asked what I was doing. I said “eating my egg.” Jim’s family was completely stunned. Apparently, eating the dyed eggs was not a universal tradition!

And, then there are those colored plastic eggs. Not as pretty as real ones, but definitely happy, especially when they are filled with candy and treats. Yes – we held Easter Egg Hunts annually. Truth be told we only stopped doing them last year when the participants became more and more scarce! I can attest though that adult children are very competitive when it comes to finding the golden egg! Amazon gift cards replaced the huge chocolate bunny years ago and created the cousin’s egg hunt wars.

One of our Kent School families brought me a dozen eggs this week from their chickens. Some of the eggshells were a brownish blue. I have never seen blue chicken eggs before, although I have seen pale blue robin’s eggs. Nature is truly amazing.

Jim and I are anxiously awaiting the sight of eggs in our osprey nest signaling success for our birds of prey who are, at the moment, very busy “nesting.” For the past two years, the osprey couple has not been rewarded with nestlings. Or, should I say, we have not seen any fledglings. Crossing our fingers the third spring’s a charm. The nest is looking quite sturdy, large and homey. You can be sure we will celebrate if baby ospreys should appear.

Happy Spring!

Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown, a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, and a member of the Education Committee of Sultana Education Foundation.

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