My first memory of stopping to acknowledge the wondrous fragrance that filled my head was when I was very young, just old enough to be wobbling around on unsteady legs behind my brother. I rounded a corner and was struck still by the scent, the buzz of the bees and the perfect, ice cream cone-shaped boughs of glory. Their name is their color and their scent.
In Lunenburg, the entrance to the property was guarded from the road by ancient lilac bushes. Deep purple with a few renegade whites mixed in, I would check their progress every day on my way to the mailbox. Finally, I could wait no longer and I began lopping off their heavy blooms and filling dozens of vases. But I was always too eager and impatient. The girls had a running joke, “Mom! Don’t pick them yet!!”
The first year of home owe-nership here, my mother asked what she could do for my birthday. I replied, “Buy me a lilac bush, not just any but an old-fashioned, heirloom that will perfume my world in Spring!” The bush was delivered and I planted it, not where it wanted to be, but where I wanted it. We have fought ever since. It is fragile and delicate, nothing like the monstrous forests of ancient lilacs from the past. It also blooms long after the rest of the lilacs in the world have given up.
This year it finally blossomed with a spectacular cloud of cones. Perhaps the bees are to be thanked, or it just gave up taunting me. I waited patiently then filled jars and pitchers, vases and wine glasses. Each was carefully placed so the slightest breeze from an open window or my wake as I walk past, fills the air with sensory memories.