In Like a Lion...Out Like a Lamb

Rites of spring at Yale Elementary School in Chicago in the ‘50s came with its own rituals. My fifth grade class was selected to decorate the student hallway bulletin board.

Eagerly, armed with scissors, glue, felt and some thumbtacks, we created a felt lion and furry lamb covered with cotton balls along with paper cut spring tulips and dandelions to welcome spring to cold Chicago.

It was a major display that everyone passed, and we were proud of our “craftsmanship” and creativity to usher in spring. In some aspects, it was the “early seeds” of my marketing career to create eye-catching ads and promotions (little did I know).

I’ve been thinking of all the rituals and symbols we attribute to spring and welcome: spring break, spring cleaning, and “spring forward” with daylight savings time.

Specifically in my life, spring displayed itself gloriously with daffodils and lilacs when I lived in downstate Illinois along with annual “baby” asparagus shoots and rhubarb stalks in my vegetable garden; cherry blossoms, azaleas and robin’s eggs in D.C. and Virginia; and now orange blossoms and cactus flowers in Arizona.

Growing up in Chicago, spring meant coloring Easter eggs and the delight of emptying an Easter basket filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. It also meant a new outfit for church, including an Easter bonnet, gloves and patent leather shoes.

I wore my first “nylons,” hosiery with seams (signaling a passage from girl to woman) similar to a boy going from short pants to trousers.

I couldn’t keep the seams straight on my skinny legs, but I was thrilled to wear them thinking of the glamorous actresses posing in their fashionable, elegant stockings.

Spring also meant late winter storms and blustery winds as winter belted its last “roar” before it allowed gentle spring rains and plants to come out of their slumber, allowing the new born “lamb” to replace the fierce lion of winter.

Spring is a time of awakening, shaking off winter’s doldrums and allowing new growth to emerge. The seasons of our lives imitate these cycles, prompting us to shed our winters for new life.

We are in synch with life’s patterns when we remove our winter coats to embrace the warmth and gentleness of spring’s “lamb.” 

My grade school’s felt lion and furry, cotton lamb still make me smile and remind me that my life is full of seasons to welcome.

Copyright © Erana Leiken, 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Lion photo by Jean Scheijen
Daffodils photo by Nick Pye
Easter Eggs photo by Alexandar Iotzov
Toy Sheep photo by Ula Kapala


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