Thursday, March 12, 2015

After the Fire: Rebirth!

In the Constantiaberg valley, there is a type of amaryllis called Brunsvigia orientalis. It pops up out of the ground in March and April like an Easter egg. No leaves, no warning, and then it is there—unfolding into a spray of thirty brilliant, bright red flowers. Eventually these dry up and break off as a tumbleweed that rolls down the mountain, shaking off its seeds as it goes, and scaring the horses. Hence its common name, perdespookbossie—the bush that spooks the horses.
The traditional celebrations of Easter or Pesach evolved to celebrate the end of winter and the rebirth of spring, but in South Africa those holidays fall in the autumn. Although it's not a children's book, in my book, The Amaranth Bloom, I created special rituals to help children deeply understand Mother Nature’s calendar. Mother Nature teaches us we can still get close to the spirit of rebirth in the autumn if we use the perdespookbossie eggs as a promise that spring will come after winter. But there is also a deeper meaning to celebrating this day: it is our duty and our responsibility to make sure spring does arrive after winter.
After the intense fires in Cape Town this year, I encourage everyone to go out into nature and look for amaryllis and perdespookbossie flowers popping up out of the ashes and to celebrate the day by befriending a stranger in a way that feels comfortable to you. It is a beautiful way to teach children the resilience of nature and also the responsibility we have to protect our precious resources. (please share)

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