Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Passover, Plagues & Spring in Manhattan & Massachusetts

Every March, on the first warm, spring-like day, I walk out the porch door in Grafton, MA and spy some purple crocuses in the otherwise barren garden. Then I know it’s finally spring. That didn’t happen this year for some reason, but on St. Patrick’s Day, I saw a clump of tiny purple irises (above) and knew that spring had finally come despite the record rains we’ve had lately.

This past weekend, in Manhattan, spring was much farther along. A walk through Central Park revealed flowering forsythia and almost-flowering magnolias and flocks of New Yorkers – lovers by the boat lake and kids climbing trees near Bethesda Fountain. On the way to the Park, tulips bloomed on the sidewalks and, in the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum, the huge vases were filled with flowering cherry branches.

It all served to remind me that Manhattan is the greatest city in the world, bar none, especially in Spring.

In Eli’s super-stocked, high-end market, where I go just to gape at the seasonal decorations and sky-high prices, I found the kid-friendly finger puppets shown above, which I had to have for my own, even though I don’t do Passover and, sadly, don’t know any small children to amuse or educate with these puppets.

The puppets are clearly mean to dramatize, at the Passover seder, the ten plagues which Yahweh visited on the Egyptians to convince the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free, as recounted in Exodus.

I just couldn’t resist these little puppets embroidered with the names “Blood”, “Frogs”, “Lice”, “Animals”, “Cattle Plague” (he’s my favorite—the sick cow with the thermometer and the hot water bottle, ) “Boils”, “Hail”, “Locusts”, “Darkness” and “First Born.”

Only in New York!

Now back in Grafton, MA it’s raining like crazy and there are flood warnings, but I just saw the first robin outside the porch door, looking for ingredients to build a nest. It’s time to cut some forsythia and bring it inside to force it, first soaking it in the bathtub.

Happy Spring and Pesach Same’ach!

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