Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Profusion of Lilacs

Tonight my white ironstone pitcher sits in the middle of the kitchen table, filled with abundant free-spirited purple lilacs; the scent of spring has overtaken this old house. 

This has been a stressful week -- we filed for our bankruptcy on Monday, and face losing so much that we have worked very hard for over the years.  I am worried, upset, angry -- tumultuous feelings that have unsettled my spirit.

This afternoon, though, Alivia and I walked up the street to a lovely stand of lilacs in her other grandmother's back yard.  Pruning shears in hand, we gathered our incredibly beautiful bounty of heaven, holding them lovingly as they spilled over our arms, soaking in their scent as we worked.

I tell everyone that roses are my favorite flower, but as I gather these vivacious lilacs, I realize that they are truly my first love.  Their arrival each spring is a precious occasion.  Their abundant bloom is a gift -- their scent soothes my soul -- and because they are so short-lived, they remind us to enjoy life "in the moment."  They are here in all of their beauty for a few days, and then gone until next year --

We brought them home, cut their stems, and immersed them in water -- their glorious blooms will bring joy to my soul while they are here -- a blessed abundance that must be enjoyed now.

I was reminded of a poem that touched my heart:

Stealing Lilacs

A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color -- pale lavender,
purple, darker plum --
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and started tearing branches
from my neighbor's tall old lilac --
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids' arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door
to say something,
but couldn't begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone -- "Stealing Lilacs," by Alice N. Persons

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