Spring failed me for a long time this year.
Snow fell far too long.
Ground remained frozen.
Cold killed a row of daffodils.
Pounding weeks of rain delayed the landscaping project.
My anticipation for spring’s glorious colors, buried itself beneath the mulch.
And it’s just as well because life turned hectic. Editorial deadlines swamped me. Finding reliable painters turned into relentless phone tag. The roof sprung a leak. Cliff landed in the hospital twice.
I felt discombobulated and couldn’t put my finger on it until I followed our dog around the corner of the house.
The scent of lilacs swept me away. If you love lilacs, you understand surrendering to them. I know there are calendar holidays requiring specifically colored frou-frou. We all have bins and boxes of items that we tie and swirl all over the house, only to be repackaged and pushed backed into the closet.
But lilacs–real lilacs–are their own holiday. They defy boxes. We stand transfixed before them, savoring that once-a-year sweetness.
For the young, the petals whisper romantic secrets. They mirror what could be.
For the old, the petals recall past dreams, lovely moments. They mirror what was.
When I volunteered with a group of women housed in assisted living, I took a bouquet of lilacs to a meeting. They passed it around the table, enjoying the smell of lilac love. One-by-one, they spoke of lilac bushes they had known.
Each lilac bush from a place, now far away, carried a vivid memory too precious to forget. Ever.
So we sang an old song from days when they were young and willing, happy and hopeful. Our voices rose to “Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Answer Do.” To my surprise, a woman with severe memory loss who never spoke, still held the lilacs and sang with us, remembering every word. My colleague raised her eyebrows at me, barely able to believe this breakthrough moment.
That is the power of lilacs. Each spring their unforgettable scent pulls us through frozen ground, frozen dreams, frozen minds. Their scent calls to our spirits.
In my frenzied whirl this spring, they finally bloomed in their own time, knowing I would find them. Eventually.
I met the deadlines. The tree got planted. We found painters, who also knew how to repair the roof. All those doctors patched Cliff up, good as new.
Once more, in the spring I almost missed, lilacs saved me.
And my heart turned lavender all over again.