Lost lilacs

I missed lilac season this year, a realization that stopped me dead in my tracks as I rounded the northeast corner of my garage, fresh rhubarb from my neighbor Linda’s garden in hand.

I stopped to smell my lilacs, as I do every year, and I realized they just weren’t there.

“Wait,” I said to my daughter Molly, who had one of the uh-oh-please-don’t-make-a-scene looks on her face. “Did I miss lilac season?”

“You did,” she said in a kind, parental way.

Few Wisconsin seasons are shorter than lilac season (unless you count hurricane season, which lasted less time than it took me to read my Florida relative’s warning email that one was heading our way). But, lilac season isn’t threatening at all. It’s just a lovely, sweet-smelling breath of spring.

And I can’t believe I missed it.

I’m neither a gardener, nor a floral connoisseur but I do like to live by the motto I learned from poet Robert Herrick in Mr. Oudenhoven’s fourth hour English class way back in the day. I aim to gather my rosebuds while I may. I know old time is still a flying.

Even more than rosebuds, I like to gather my lilacs, pop them in a vase and enjoy their purple merriness. Now I don’t even know what my 2020 crop looked like. I missed the budding and the blooms.

So, even though we’re all navigating our way through some historic, heart-wrenching challenges these days, I still think it’s important to stop and smell the lilacs, wish on the stars, toast the sunsets, tend the friendships, savor the cake, wave to the children, skotch the hop.

I really hope I never miss a lilac season again.

Avert your eyes! This is my naked lilac bush. I’m sad I missed seeing and smelling those cheerful little buds.
I missed the blooms on my neighbor’s lilac tree too. This is from a few years ago.
And this is one of my favorite lilac bush pictures with the river as a backdrop (also taken a few years ago).

2 thoughts on “Lost lilacs

  1. When I lived in New England (first thirteen years of my life), we had lilac bushes along the side of our garage. I loved them! When we moved to Texas, you couldn’t find lilacs. So, the next time I was up there, I brought a rooting back with me. There’s a good reason I hadn’t seen them in Texas — it’s too hot to grow them. My rooting didn’t last. In the south, the crepe myrtle is the closest replacement, but they lack that beautiful smell the lilac has.

    1. I will look for crepe myrtle next time I travel south. I bet it has a longer blooming season than lilacs.

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