The look was a bit different, but the feeling was the same. The Easter Bunny. Children and parents eager to run across the grass at Allyn Brook Park on a cool April morning in search of treasure.
Enveloped by the safety of open air and planners who had the wisdom to make sure that pre-registration was part of the plan, children, tightly grasping the baskets they brought for the occasion, were able to seek out eggs, and their parents were able to find themselves embracing the same traditions that shaped their own childhoods.
Parents Jon and Linsdey say their motivation was in recreating an experience they had as children. Undoubtedly, they echoed the thoughts of the many parents encouraging a photo session with the Easter Bunny, or the search for a brightly colored egg.
Such comfort. Tradition polka-dotted with memories of untethered runs near a pavilion and a small stream.
Yes, the eggs were plastic this year (except for the golden ones of course), and yes, anyone over a certain age wore a mask, but the feeling was the same: community and celebration. An open arm embrace of warm weather and mornings unencumbered by gloves and mittens.
Throughout the morning, those lucky enough to find a golden egg exchanged their find for a stuffed bunny or pig, but the real prize was for anyone who attended. Each left with the memory of standing on the edge of a field scattered with color, welcoming a day imbued with hues so vivid and potent that the grayness of the past year could almost be forgotten.
Volunteers like Stephanie, chair of the Recreation Committee, worked with Jon Scagnelli and Sherry Hill to guarantee that this day would be a joyful one for families. The event, posted on March 2 with a link to registration information, caught the attention of those longing for the familiar. It has been a rough year after all, and when our collective nightmare took away everything, including an Easter egg hunt in 2020, the decision was made that this year would be special, not just because it marked a return to normalcy, but also because it acknowledged our primal need for togetherness. In a socially-distanced fashion, and through times that were staggered for safety, over 140 families celebrated a return to fellowship.
Easter eggs aren’t just made of plastic, and they don’t always come hard boiled. Remember learning about those Easter eggs embedded in all the Disney movies? There was Nemo in a tank at the dentist’s office, but then you found something hidden: Buzz Lightyear lying among the toys in the waiting room. You came for one thing – an adventure with Nemo – but you got so much more: all because someone took the time to make sure your experience was even better than you imagined it would be.
It sounds as though there are similar surprises to be found throughout the fields at Allyn Brook Park on the day before Easter.