Saturday, April 4, 2009

On Dying and Dyeing

With Easter just around the corner, the topics of death and resurrection have peppered our conversations with Nourit more and more. She seems to be at an age to talk about death and killing, both because certain storybooks talk about it (Frog & Toad, for example, has a line that reads, "Help! My best friend in trying to kill me!" as Frog puts Toad into his winter clothing against his will. That happens to be one of Nourit's favorite phrases this week...), and because she picks things up from older kids who might be play-killing. Not to mention the fact that to really explain Easter, you have to talk about death, (which is probably why the Easter Bunny was invented. It's much easier to talk about Easter in terms of a fluffy creature in Spring bringing candy while you are sleeping, than to discuss sin, killing and death with a 3 year old.) The wonderful thing about believing the way we do, though, is that we have the hope that when we die, we will come back to life again - to a much better one, at that.

I'm still not certain what she really grasps, though. For instance, she and her friend were playing with Dodo - taking turns "die-ing" Dodo, to be exact. (I didn't correct her verb usage - I really would prefer the word "killing" to stay out of her regular vocabulary for just a little longer.) And just last week at the Art Institute, we were looking at a Munch painting, 'Gologotha', where the artist portrays himself as Christ on the cross. Obviously, I skipped the symbolism and went straight for the explanation of Christ being put on a cross to die for our sins, and then left that very quickly to remind her of the resurrection at the tomb three days later. I believe that was the first time she saw the image so starkly (even though it wasn't a realistic portrayal.) Her children's Bible just has a blurry picture of 3 crosses off on a distant hill. Even so, I'm basically avoiding talking about the actual intent to kill. When is a child ready to learn about that??

On a lighter Easter note, I've been intent on naturally dyeing eggs this year. Last year, Nourit and I joined our good friend Danielle at her place of employment, the Green Grocer, where they held a natural egg dyeing workshop - just for us! It took a little time for me to get used to the muted colors, but now I'll never go back to Paas again. Nature is just that much more beautiful!

The eggs we decorated last year at the workshop.

So with a week or so before the Bunny arrives, I've started experimenting with my own dyes. Here are the results of my fun science project, conducted over the past coupld of days:

The colors that were the most vibrant were the Turmeric (the bright yellow eggs), and the beet juice (the dark pink eggs.) The blueberry made a beautiful grey over the one brown egg I used, and the carrot made a light, mottled orange. The wine (leftover Sangre de Toro, to be precise) came out a light grey-purple, and the light, light peach are from red onion leave. I was trying to get a lovely green, but they didn't perform for me this year, and so, peach. I used the wine and the beet juice cold, but the rest I boiled with the eggs (and added vinegar to each.) The finishing touches include some beautiful little tree berries we found on our walk today, some rubber bands and/or wax applied before dipping, some ribbon, and of course, the Bull.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Hi Elizabeth,
I work in PR for Cookie magazine and found your site through the Chicago Moms Blog. I'd love to add your name to our list of Mom-bloggers. Could you possibly give me an email address? Thanks so much, Laura