Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Weekend: Markets, Friends and Hiking...and More Friends

My Easter weekend was rather non-traditional, but it provided plenty of fun and enjoyment. On Saturday a friend and I went to two farmers' markets: at one we bought plenty of eggs (farm fresh!), and at the other we visited a friend's coffee stand (delicious!). In the afternoon I baked muffins, then visited a friend and her two-week old baby (adorable!). Later two friends and I met for dinner (arctic char - fantastic!) to rather belatedly celebrate my birthday.

On Easter Sunday I decided that Jesus would definitely want me to be healthy, so I attended my regular yoga class, and in the afternoon joined friends for a hike at Maryland's Gambrill State Park, and later even enjoyed a short stroll near Seneca Creek. It was my first visit to Gambrill, and I was impressed by the large rock formations and the views into the valleys surrounding the mountains. (Thanks to B. for photos!)
Rocks in Gambrill State Park
Sunscreen season has certainly begun - I was in a rush on Sunday, and had forgotten to apply any. Luckily I spent only a bit of time in the direct sun, but even on Monday a short break outside the office meant I could feel the sun warming my fair Baltic skin a tad too much. Pollen is also here full force, but happily my seasonal allergies have been barely noticeable since I stopped eating gluten and cut back on dairy a couple of years ago.
Redbuds near Seneca Creek
On Easter Monday I dragged myself back to work (not having the luxury of any national holidays around Easter the way many European countries do), and then in the evening drove to singing. We always rehearse in the home of one family, and when I walked in, I was surprised to see a couple of visitors from Latvia sitting at the dining room table. One of the visitors sang with us for several years while he lived in the DC area for work. It was wonderful to see them again, and we relished a great evening of singing and catching up. Our time together, however, was marred to a certain degree by discussions concerning Russia's recent land-grab in Crimea, the continued Russian activities in Ukraine, and what Putin's future intentions might be. It is not an understatement to say that quite a few Latvians - both in Latvia and abroad - are afraid of what the future might hold.

Thus, I leave you with this video of Latvians celebrating a traditional (i.e. pagan/pre-Christian) Easter in Latvia last year. Watch through or skip ahead to about minute 2:00 to hear a folksong sung by my group. For the life of me I couldn't get the video to imbed into the blog, but the link is here!

The song is called "Rīgā iešu es, māmiņa" (translated: I will go to Riga, mother). In today's political climate, the last verses are particularly appropriate:
Vij’, Dieviņi, zelta viju
Visgarām jūras malu.
Lai nenāca sveša salna
Šai zemē ziedu rauti.
Rough translation: May God weave gold around the shore so that foreign frost cannot enter our land to freeze the flowers.

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