Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lilac Time

Let me start by saying that I am not a flower person. Yes, I grew up on a farm, but as I have said in previous posts, I have a brown thumb. I can't grow plants to save my life! Nor can I identify most varieties of plants, bushes and trees. Except for some of the most obvious flowers, like a tulip - and a few others - I really couldn't tell you what flowers were in a bouquet or a flower bed.

It's not that I can't appreciate the beauty of flowers, it's just that I really am not that interested in them. My parents were both avid gardeners and loved to try new varieties and colours in the various flower beds. They planted over a thousand plants every spring, as well as countless bulbs. They also had dozens of perennials such as peonies that would bloom every summer.

Dad often picked bouquets of fresh flowers for mom to display in the house alongside her dozens of house plants. She always said that "her boyfriend" brought the flowers to her! I would occasionally pick some flowers, but watching them gradually wilt and die in a vase really didn't appeal to me. I also wasn't too crazy about some of the littlle bugs that used to tag along on the flowers when you brought them indoors.

I don't hate flowers. There are some that I do like such as; tulips, lilies, brown eyed susan's and gladiolas. I just prefer them in their natural settings rather than in a vase.

I am also not a fan of floral scents - in fact most of them, I find rather overpowering. Allergies make most scents a problem for me, so I tend to stay out of flower gardens and away from flower displays. I can handle a few roses or something that isn't too strong, but for the most part I'd rather leave flowers in their natural environment.

So given that, it may seem a bit odd for me to say this, but I love lilacs! Especially the ones that are actually a lilac shade or even the darker shades of purple. Lilacs come in a wide variety of colours from a creamy white, to yellow to shades of pinks and the traditional purples. I'll take the purples any day!

I even love the smell of the lilacs - not in a perfume or anything like that - I'm talking just the natural smell that comes right from the flower. It isn't too strong but it takes me back to my childhood. I'd sit on the steps or a blanket on the grass and read a book or listen to a portable radio. I'd contemplate life and wonder what the future would hold.

When I was a kid, we had a lot of lilac trees on the farm. We actually had a hedge of them, as a wind row, near the house that bloomed in various shades of purple every spring. It was a sea of purples on a leafy green backdrop. I loved sitting outside and admiring their beauty and breathing in the soft scent. Most of them were cut down when my parents remodeled and expanded the house in the late 60's. There were still several lilacs on the property, but it just wasn't the same.

Living here in the city, I don't get to see and smell the lilacs like I used to. There are lilacs here too, you just don't tend to find whole rows or hedges of them!

When I do see lilacs - or I guess it would be more accurate to say when I smell lilacs now - it takes me right back to the peace and solitude of living on the farm. To a time of innocence and dreams of what lay ahead. I didn't always see the first leaves on the trees or the first tulips of spring, but the scent of lilacs were my link to spring. New beginnings!

We have had such a long cold winter and this spring has been slow in coming. The lilacs are late this year too. The lilacs are coming now and that makes me happy. I just wish they stayed longer. Their season is short, but I love them while they are here.

So if you see me standing at my window or outside and I seem lost in a dream or deep in thought - don't worry - I'm probably smelling lilacs!

I wonder if anyone would notice a blind woman picking a few lilac stems.....


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