April 2, 2013

Sometimes a bunny is just a bunny,” as Alexandra Petri wrote in her March 30 op-ed column. And sometimes it is not.

This Easter morning, our granddaughter found a small basket containing a plush chick, a package of rabbit candies and a few speckled chocolate eggs, as well as the egg she had decorated last week. As she removed the items, we talked.

Chicks are new every spring. They come from eggs. Eggs, an old symbol for life, contain all of life. In Egyptian art, an egg sometimes hovers over a mummy, representing hope for everlasting life. The Buddha is often depicted within an egg.

And rabbits? Throughout most of history rabbits and hares were thought to be the same and to be prolific, and sometimes they were thought to give virgin birth. In medieval art, a hare may be seen lying at the feet of Mary, mother of Jesus. In the early Christian church, lay people could “read” emblems. A picture of three hares, their ears meeting in the center, stood for Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Learning cultural stories as one grows up deepens one’s consciousness and sense of interconnections, even in the chicks, eggs and rabbits of a consumer-laden modern world.

Sharon Hoover, Lewes, Del.