By Diane Axent
Ukrainian legend believes that as long as Pysanky eggs are made, good that will prevail in the world, not evil. As COVID-19 crept into Canada there was no denying the impact it was having on my Nova Scotia neighbours. Every hour Canadians were being asked to adapt to an unsettling new reality. In my charming town of Digby, and all communities in the country, everything was changing.
Our joyful wedding industry took blows as couples scrambled to cancel or change wedding dates with me as their justice of the peace. Another wave of denied pleasure would wash over hundreds of locals, when I had to cancel teaching all 12 of my Easter Ukrainian egg classes. Sackville and Annapolis Royal High were my last stops. Registered adult students and admirers of my art were ordered to stay home and self isolate.
My craft of using hot wax as a resist to design and color could not be done in the company of anyone. I was forced to go solo for 500 hours of drawing designs on 65 eggs. My life had changed so much that in solitude my prayers were poured over every one of my new Pandemic Pysanky COVID-19 Easter Eggs.
I meditated personal sorrows and asked God to heal our world. Even though I was not being spared drama, worry, change and wounds from others around me who were hurting bad. My intention in each hour I worked on my art was to be calm and accepting of what I alone could not change.
This week before Easter I gave them away. I posted pictures and a message on social media asking who would appreciate an egg, who missed a class, who was struggling to stay strong and positive to message me. I wanted to give away goodwill and caring to anyone who would like to share the message every egg held: they’re not perfect, but like us humans, nothing is ever perfect nor without flaws of design, line and color – just beautiful as is.
Seven eggs went to Dawson City, Yukon. My son Alexander (a.k.a. Big Al) was instructed to give them to his neighbours. No wonder Pysanky eggs are given as raw works of art. My Ukrainian father and Baba would have been so proud of me.
Each Ukrainian Pysanky COVID-19 egg was individually packaged with a message. To know the prayer, each recipient could follow the guide of color and designs used.
Walter, my partner, and I delivered the packages. We’d leave one outside a door, ring the bell or practice social distancing with a wave. Every smile and message of gratitude was lovely to behold.
“My family and I will cherish this forever!” we heard this appreciative response.
Outside my back door was an Easter basket with named packages in it, along with hand sanitizer for the person who would come to the basket to collect their gift.
It felt like an Easter-drive-by; "I’ll have a raw egg please, hold back on the virus."
Sixty-five people got pandemic eggs. They included neighbours, elders, people in quarantine, front-line workers, past and promising new students, community leaders, volunteers, essential service workers, those celebrating a milestone in isolation, friends.
Happy Easter and thank you for keeping yourself and others safe. Good will prevail in the world and we will heal because even though we are staying apart, the world is coming together.
Visit my website to learn more about Pysanky: www.mycanadianaxent.com