The Hunt

I had just finished a workout at the gym and was settling into my favorite part of necessary, obligatory exercise: stretching. I was standing near a wall, grabbing the ankle of my foot, when I noticed something: a pink plastic Easter egg, hidden down in the center of the leg of one of those aerobic step risers.

I noticed a few more eggs scattered around. There was an orange one in the corner behind a rack of hand weights, and a blue one poking out from behind a stack of yoga mats. Why were they there? I could only imagine they were the spoils of a recent Easter egg hunt for the after-school kids. I looked around, wondering if anyone else had seen them, too.

I’ll admit it—my first thought? Candy. But as an upstanding, cardio-committed adult, I decided to abstain from picking one up, shaking it, and keeping it safely in my palm until I was driving away from the parking lot. But I couldn’t help feeling like I’d found something—that little pink egg, even if I had left it behind. It was in an excellent hiding spot, and I’d been the one to find that last little lost Easter egg.

* * *

On the drive home, I got nostalgic about Easter. I still have the wooden Easter basket my grandpa made for me when I was a kid. Both ends of the basket are shaped like a bunny’s face, and it’s painted white, with lines for whiskers around the nose. My name is painted onto it, too, the handiwork of my mom. The letters are playful and arced, with decorative dots on all the ends.

Growing up, we’d wake up on Easter Sunday before church to look for our Easter baskets. They had been carefully hidden around the house, and we’d tiptoe around while my mom gave us “hot” or “cold” clues. Nothing was better than knowing you were getting closer, like following a treasure map.

Once we’d discovered our baskets, we could dig into the bounty of treats they held—SweeTarts, Nerds, Peeps, Chocolate Bunnies. Sometimes, I could make my trove last all week, but usually I’d dig in and delightfully overdose on sugar. The wrappers would be scattered around me on the floor, the only evidence of everything I’d consumed.

The Hunt & the Reward

Maybe there will always be something remarkable about a hunt—and the reward. Once we’re adults, the hunt turns to more intangible things, and the clues get harder to discern (and that’s assuming we’re given any). And the reward? That’s where it’s so easy to lose sight. We’re harder to satisfy. We don’t take the time to savor what we find.

What’s so special about these memories? Are our childhoods only magnified once our roles are reversed, once we’re the one stuffing candy into plastic eggs, hiding wooden baskets under blankets?

Maybe there will always be something remarkable about a hunt—and the reward. Once we’re adults, the hunt turns to more intangible things, and the clues get harder to discern (and that’s assuming we’re given any). And the reward? That’s where it’s so easy to lose sight. We’re harder to satisfy. We don’t take the time to savor what we find.

Discovering that lost Easter egg today felt like a benevolent reminder–don’t stop hunting for meaning in the everyday. The search is on—for little bits of beauty and meaning. The rewards truly are all around us, but they’re hidden until we tune our eyes to the shape and color and texture or sound of it, or until we break open what we find to examine it, and taste the sweetness.

 

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