Easter morning at Frontenac State Park

The sun rises over Lake Pepin on Easter morning 2021.

It was the first time in a long time I’d set an alarm. I didn’t mean for it to be that loud.

I actually took clothes off of hangers in the closet instead of snatching something from an unwieldy pile of pandemic-friendly “raggedy wear.” One of the layers was a vintage lavender shirt of Mom’s — it’s probably been to prior Easter worship services. I hung a clean cloth mask of contrasting color over my wrist like a little coin purse suitable for containing Sunday school offering.

We didn’t go to church, however. For years my husband and I have been frequenting a nearby state park with an expansive eastern vista for our own sunrise service. We timed it close. I might’ve stepped out of the car before the engine was turned off. It was early enough that we had the place to ourselves, or just about anyway. There was one fellow with a tripod set up on the edge of a clearing.

We traipsed about for most of an hour before continuing a scenic drive along the river. A bluebird swooped in front of our car as we descended the hill.

Not far from the entrance/exit was a charming outdoor arrangement. A chandelier hung over a bench by tree trunks adorned with colorful knit attire — conjuring up images of additional birdwatching and spritely spring outfits.

Said lavender blouse was part of my ensemble as it were, for another significant outing on Good Friday. It was more of a jacket that day — something easily set aside to present an upper arm injection site. At the local Mayo Clinic part way up a hill, that day they were serving the “one-and-done” variety of vaccination. I wasn’t expecting that. My intense reclusion has been reduced by three weeks. I’d been optimistically anticipating some meaningful insights during that phase. I haven’t quite reached the “bottom of the barrel” — more literally than figuratively, but maybe both. There are probably more stacks of really old pictures I don’t even know about, some with tidy cursive handwriting on the back listing vaguely familiar names.

A program on the car radio as we were heading toward the rising sun was making a distinction between “grieving” and “mourning.” If I heard her correctly, the explanation was grief can be all consuming — very confining. Whereas mourning offers space to move forward. Now, we rise on.

Kate Josephson grew up in rural southwestern Minnesota — going to a small town church every Sunday — worked as a church secretary in Red Wing for seven years. She continues to seek out religious experiences wherever she goes.

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