athelind: (Default)
Easter is a holiday that almost escapes my notice. I observe the Equinox, of course, and I've been quietly raising a glass to Yuri Gagarin every evening, but when I drifted away from being even nominally Christian (around age 12-13, honestly), Easter was just one of those things that went with it.

Christmas, now... Christmas has been embraced so thoroughly by the secular culture and, more significantly, the consumer culture that it's acknowledged and sometimes observed by people of entirely different religious faiths.

Easter, in contrast, has always seemed thoroughly Christian to me. Not that I think that's a bad thing: unlike many of my peers, I don't have the knee-jerk reaction that Organized Religion Is The Enemy Of All That Is Just And Good. Believe me, if there's one thing about the Christian faith that resonates with me, it's the themes of Sacrifice and Redemption, of Rebirth and Renewal.

I even, these days, practice Lent, in an entirely secular manner: there are things that I want to cut down on, and it's easier to give up something when there's communal/social reinforcement -- even if you aren't in any direct contact with the actively-practicing community.

Easter is such a thing of nails and crosses, though. It's so specifically religious that its secular/commercial aspect of hard-boiled eggs and cheap bunny fursuits never really seemed to have the same cultural import as the Jolly Fat Man and his Bag Full of Presents. It didn't even occur to me that the comic store might not be open on Easter Sunday until my boss asked me, apologetically, if I would mind working on a day that I normally work anyway.

Even my expectations for the day reflect this quandary: The bosses expect it to be slow, since most of the mall will be closed, because it's Easter. I expect it to be swamped, because we're gonna be the only open store in a mall with a major cinema complex on a day when Families Go Do Stuff.

I just don't think of Easter as a "real" holiday anymore -- that is, one celebrated for reasons besides its religious signficance. For the last couple of days, I've been pondering this cultural disconnect -- my complete lack of recognition of Easter's apparent importance as a secular phenomenon -- and I think I've finally hit upon the core of the issue.

Cut for socio-religious metaphysical maundering... )

So, let me ask those of you who aren't practicing Christians -- what does Easter mean to you? What parts of the holiday do you still recognize and acknowledge?

athelind: (Default)
That last post reminded me that we had an exceptionally long Fire season last year, lasting through most of the "Summer" and into early "Autumn". For months, the air in the Bay Area ranged from Unusually Smoggy to Choked With Smoke, and nearly everyone was coughing and dealing with sinus headaches -- even those who don't normally suffer allergies. Southern California, I understand, was as bad or worse.

Now, this "Winter", we've had both a stubborn strain of influenza and an exceptionally persistant strain of the common cold running around. The cold virus is one of those that hits, passes through the infectious sneezing-and-runny-nose phase fairly quickly... and then leaves you with lingering congestion and coughing up gobs of phlegm for weeks.

The 2007 strains were the classic "24-hour virus" -- sneeze sneeze sneeze, blow nose blow nose, wake up the next day fine. That was kind of a new experience for me.

It's tempting to draw a correlation between the constant respiratory irritation of the Fire season, and the continued, long-lasting respiratory irritation of this year's Cold season. Maybe weeks of smoke left our systems more sensitive to this year's virus.

The only hitch in that hypothesis is that, if the reports I'm hearing are correct, the Nasty Clingy Cold That Won't Go Away is spread across North America this year, not just the Golden State.


...smoke-induced viral mutation followed by transportation-mediated infection?
athelind: (Default)
You wouldn't think that the whole "obese rodent* sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter" thing would apply to California, would you?

After a brief warm spell right around Further Confusion at the end of January, we're back into 36F nights, 56F days, and rain two days out of three. In fact, we're getting more rain now than we had before GHD. Which is good; even if this keeps up until Spring really arrives, we'll still be well under our average rainfall. We need another flood year, dammit. We're due.

Yes, dagnabbit, 36F is cold enough to qualify as "winter", especially here, and especially three weeks after conversations about how "hot" temps in the mid-70s could feel in the middle of January.


*Not that obese rodent, this obese rodent. How did my LJ get to the point where I have to clarify the phrase "obese rodent", anyway?
athelind: (Default)
Easterners like to snark about how the Golden State "doesn't have seasons."

Of course it does. They're just different than East Coast seasons.

We have:


  • Air, when the hills are green, the flowers bloom, and the wind is a pleasant, offshore breeze.

  • Earth, when the hills have turned brown golden.

  • Fire, when the hot devil winds blow from the mountains, and the wildfires bloom.

  • Water, when the rains roll in.



The seasons may start earlier or later, and they may be more intense in one year than another, but, by golly, they're there.

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