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February 15, 2013     Post-Gazette
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February 15, 2013

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 15, 2013 Deep inside, we know that Lent in 2013 began this a festive springtime. After spring is coming. Not even past Wednesday, Ash Wed- all, the English word for Lent the layers of snow dumped nesday, February 13% Reli- derives from the same root by Storm Nemo could disguise the rosy light of a late evening sky or the increasing chat- ter of birds singing from the bare bushes. However, for many of us, the winter sea- son still reigns supreme. The thermometer dips to the low twenties, causing nights when the air stands so chili that I want nothing more than to rush home and gulp down a mug'of hot chocolate. Nemo's thick blanket of snow will likely remain on the ground for a long time -- but even if there was no snow, the ground below us would still reveal unsightly patches of dirt and dry grass left over from summer. Seasonal pro- duce also varies unpredict- ably, as the oranges and lem- ons of winter peter out before the tender herbs and peas of spring can line the super- market shelves. Rather than a herald of gloom, however, this liminal period simply represents nature's renewal and regeneration for the rap- idly approaching spring. Once we understand that nature proceeds to awaken from her slumber underneath all this snow, seasonal periods like Lent will make all the more sense. The vernal equinox and the joyous celebration of Easter loom closer every day, and just like the natural world around us, we too must purify our beings and examine our consciousness before em- barking on a springtime ad- venture. With its restorative qualities and voyage of dis- covery, the Lenten season safely carries us over into spring. giously, Lent comprises the 40 days before the most im- portant feast of the Christian calendar, Easter. These days function as a phase of prepa- ration for Easter, marked by purification rituals such as fasting, prayer, charity and self-reflection. Symbolically, Lent coincides with the sea- son when nature too is puri- fying itself after a long win- ter, readying for the great re- birth that is spring. In order to experience the joy of Eas- ter, or spring in general, one must embrace the thought- fulness and self-contempla- tion that accompanies such big changes, and Lent offers us all that opportunity. When my father and grandparents were growing up in Italy, Lent, or la Quaresima, served as a somber and solemn time period, matching the barren- ness of nature. Though the rules have loosened up over the years, the habit of purifi- cation remains at the center of Lenten practices both in Italy and elsewhere. Hence the custom of giving up some- thing for Lent, a tradition which is not mentioned in the Bible but perfectly fits into the cleansing folk rituals of the season. The purpose of Lenten abstinence should not be depravation, but rather a chance to improve oneself or examine one's priorities and values. This Lent, for example, I will give up idle snacking after 8:00 pm in or- der to make more conscien- tious choices about how and why I eat. Lent promises, however, that all this hard work will find its rewards in All the glory that was Rome ..... Pompei Bistro * Beer * Wine Richard 00.mance Agency Since 1969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS AUTO * HOMEOWNERS * TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Free Parking Adjacent to Building as lengthen, describing the beautiful, growing sun of spring days. Lent is not just about giv- ing up treats, however. Lent also permits the growth of unique traditions and folk customs that define the pre-Easter period. A familiar Lenten rule involves shun- ning meat on Fridays, so Ital- ians creatively designed many fish or vegetable based dishes for the period. Visi- tors to Italy during Lent will encounter small-town farm- ers' markets and city shops laden with fresh fish such as baccald (cod) and spring veg- etables, from which cooks can whip up hearty min- estrone. According to author Helen Barolini in her book Festa, a simple and tradi- tional Lenten Italian dessert is pizza frita, or fried pizza dough dusted with sugar. My mother and grandmother would frequently make this dessert when I was younger, much to my delight, though I had no idea that this delicious snack was associated with the Lenten season. Italians also find reason to celebrate on the fourth Sunday of Lent, called Mezza Quaresima, or mid-Lent. A feast that honors both the nearness of Easter and the halfway point of Lent, many Italian towns celebrate this holiday with processions and parties reminiscent of Carnival. Of course, with all the self- reflection and purification that accompanies Lent, it is important to remember that giving is just as significant as denying. People in Italy and around the world honor Lent with charity work and community service, and there is truly no better way to commemorate the light of spring than by doing good deeds. When the glitter of Car- nival and the crumbs of St. Valentine's Day candies are swept away, the erratic and unfruitful period between winter and spring can seem even more barren and cold. However, the journey of Lent reminds us that the promise of Easter and spring, is never far away. Just as sprouts begin to stir beneath the frost and robins fly back from the winter homes, just as buds nuzzle out of tree branches and melting snow drips down the street drains, we too can enter a meditative period of self-examination and inner cleansing. We can ready ourselves for the joy that is spring. Lent permits us to challenge ourselves, perform charitable acts, and observe new and exciting traditions of the world. With Lent, we honor change and rebirth, darkness and light, and emerge as better people into the spring sunshine. Ally Di Censo is a Graduate Student in History at the Uni- versity of Massachusetts Bos- ton. She appreciates any com- ments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folklore at ' Oh Deer, What Seems Sometimes you just come across a news story that seems so incredibly dumb you must comment on it. This news item came off the pages of the Wall Street Journal and it caught my instant attention because of the subject matter in ques- tion. The case of Dani the orphan baby deer and the couple who took her in and saved her life has now reached the highest levels of Indiana's State Capitol. This human interest story began in 2010 about 60 miles east of Indianapolis when Jeff Counceller, a police of- ficer in Connersville was on call and came upon an in- jured baby whitetail deer. He recalled recently that the deer was in very bad shape, bitten several times and was near death. He took it in and he and his wife Jennifer named the fawn Dani and began taking care of the tiny animal. Officer Counceller stated, "As you bottle feed something, it becomes at- tached to you and you be- come attached to it." How- ever, in Indiana, what this couple did was illegal. They broke the law because it is a crime to possess a white- tail deer. Now the deer is in trouble and so too the couple who saved its life. They have been charged with a misde- meanor of illegally having a whitetail deer in their pos- session. Now, it seems all of Indiana has entered into a debate over whether the Councellers are to be hon- ored for saving little Dani or punished by the criminal justice system. Jeff Counceller knew that the deer eventually would have to be returned to the wild and the couple starting "weaning" themselves off Dani to prepare the animal for life back in the woods. Dani actually left their care in June 2012 but not before the dreaded conservation the Matter with You? officers caught wind of their lawbreaking and opened up an investigation. It seems after the law showed up to say Dani would be executed for having too much human contact, that was when Dani was freed to run wild again. Charges were even- tually brought up against these "Bonnie and Clydes" and they face 60 days be- hind bars and fines, if con- victed. The couple refuses to plea bargain and awaits a trial by their peers if necessary. The Councellers have be- come folk heroes in the area and have garnished a ground- swell of support across the country on the Internet. Recently, Governor Mike Pence who was just sworn into office in January re- ceived a briefing on this case. It appears the governor is apparently backing the conservation office action. Perhaps what this couple did with the best of inten- tions may have been illegal but should state government make a federal case out of it? Most of us know that wild animals need to be in the wild but when you find a little baby deer dying, your instincts to save it some- times overwhelm the logic of not saving it. In this case, Dani is hopefully still out there alive, well and grow- ing. Hopefully, she won't get eaten alive by predators but even if she does, did saving its life as a little baby that bad of deed to punish two good human beings who re- spected the life of even one little deer? I say "Free the Councel- lers" and thank them for trying to do the right thing. Nursing a baby deer to health seems like the least of our problems in modern-day so- ciety, doesn't it? Finally, if you see Bambi out there, tell her to get out of Indiana pretty quick. WARD 3 DEMOCRATS TO HOLD CAUCUS Saturday, February 23, 2013 Registered Democrats in Ward 3 of Boston will hold a caucus at the Nazzaro Community Center, (30 North Bennet Street) on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 10:30 am to elect dele- gates to the 2013 Massachusetts Democratic Convention. Registration will begin at 10:00 am. The Convention will be held on Saturday, June I st at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell. Democrats from across the Commonwealth will gather that day to debate and adopt a party platform. The caucus is open to all registered Democrats in Ward Three. For further caucus information, please contact Ward Chairman Jason A. Aluia at WardThreeDem@gmaiLcom.