Two Easter Crowns

by Vigen Guroian

Irises in Guroian's Garden (Photo by Vigen Guroian)
Irises in Guroian's Garden (Photo by Vigen Guroian)

Several summers ago my children found two turtles and put them in the vegetable garden. During a thaw the next February, as I was digging up the soggy soil where the peas go, I lifted a heavy mound with my shovel, and then another. The two turtles had burrowed down for winter sleep, and I had rudely awakened them too soon. So I carried them to a corner of the garden where I would not disturb them and dug them in again. When my wife said that she feared the turtles might be dead, I said I did not think so (though I wasn't as sure as I sounded). I insisted that in spring they would come up. And they did in Easter week. Lilies and hyacinths signify the resurrection, and I can understand why. But I have a pair of turtles that plant themselves in my garden each fall like two gigantic seeds and rise on Easter with earthen crowns upon their humbled heads. With the women at the tomb, I marvel. For "Christ did arise, Christ did awaken/Out of the virgin tomb, out of the tomb of light" (Armenian Ode for Ordinary Sundays). And he leads us back, back into the garden of delight.

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is professor of religious studies in Orthodox Christianity at the University of Virginia. His books include The Fragrance of God and Inheriting Paradise.

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