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Egg Hunt Mayhem On Governor’s Island
Poised in taut tension at the edge of parade ground, hundreds of children at once cry havoc and let slip the eggs of war
We had expected more of a huntable egg hunt than what the Isle of Governors laid out for Kina and a few hundred of her closest five-to-eight-year-old friends yesterday. Instead, a field strewn with gaily-painted wooden eggs was penned in by yellow nylon twine, sheltered from the hungry pawing of the massed crowd. A lone person in a creepy easter bunny outfit roamed the edges of the field, like a monarch before their troops, urging them into greater frenzies.
As the hour of the battle neared, the children pressed in against the rope inch by inch, until a few pink eggs slid into arms’ reach; the marauders swept them up in silence while the referees were otherwise distracted. “Take three big steps backwards,” said one of the adults, and the children relented, even as their little hands clutched the rope.
And then, suddenly, the clock struck eleven, and the border was breached. The children on the southern front, with Kina, rushed in screaming, yanking the eggs from the grass and tossing them into the baskets at their hips. Kina fell to her knees in a cluster of pink eggs, sweeping great numbers of them into her pail as the thunder of footsteps echoed around her.
Then the ropes at the eastern and western flanks fell, and hundreds of howling children rushed in like two massive waves colliding in a bay. At once, the field was flooded. At the edges, not a single egg remained, and the army of kids was like a swarm of bees. It was no longer possible to make out any given child, and what seemed at first like a surgical strike took on the air of a tsunami.
I waded into the crowd, stumbling over children separated from their friends and family, baskets full of eggs and yet completely bereft. I looked for flashes of Kina’s yellow princess dress in the muck, hoping that I might keep her from meeting a similar fate—so many eggs, as she had desperately wished, but no family with which to share them. And then, like a vision, she was there in front of me, totally fine. Super okay.
Hand in hand, we emerged from the field, as the children rushed to exchange their wooden eggs (“This is a no-waste island, so please return your eggs to the wheelbarrows and come get a sweet treat, okay?”) Disoriented, I found that we had been swept some fifty feet to the east, and we stumbled back towards Laurea, who was looking on with mild amusement.
Those who have not stood in the midst of an egg hunt will never fully grasp its chaos.
The staff, in a macabre ritual, trudged out into the field again to cast the eggs about. The nine-year-olds would arrive in little more than an hour. The rope was raised. The cycle continued.
Kina traded the eggs in for some Milk Duds and we proceeded to stand in line for thirty minutes to get some chicken and rice.
Oh, look! An egg!