Monday, 3 May 2010

Lilac Time

Yesterday was wet, with a piercingly cold north wind driving the cherry blossom and magnolia petals off the trees and down to the pavements in sludgy, slippery deposits - a nasty reminder of the grim weather that preceded those glorious sunny weeks of April. But the day before - May Day - there was sun, and suddenly the lilacs were in full flower everywhere, and in astonishing profusion, the bushes heavy with great swags of bloom. The delicate scent of lilac is surely one of the most beautiful in nature (or humanly enhanced nature), and the more beautiful for its short life - lilac time is brief. The white flowers - more fragrant still - generally follow the more conventionally coloured, and then, after a week or so, it's over. For me, lilac is associated not with the cruellest month or the dead earth, but with a cherished memory from decades ago - of holding my daughter, then a toddler, up to smell a spray of lilac blossom overhanging a fence, seeing the lacy shadow of the flowers on her face, and knowing something very like perfect happiness.

7 comments:

  1. Perfect happiness is cycling with a young daughter on the wee seat fixed to the crossbar on your bike, before we wore helmets, so you can kiss her head.

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  2. Yes Nige, you give the lie to the famous response from Charles de Gaulle when asked whether he was happy 'What do you take me for, an idiot?'. Living in the present, it seems increasingly difficult to attain this state of grace; looking back across 60 odd years I often surprise myself by how many moments I can recapture from the bank of memories most, like your's and dearieme's, involving my children.

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  3. Sniff! Beautiful, Nige. I still love the smell of lilac.

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  4. Another 'lilac time' in this lovely song, Nige, in case you don't know it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idcaRTg4-fM

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  5. If it's any consolation Nige it was widdling down on the banks of the Arno on Sunday and the Lilac is virtually finished. The roses were full bloom though.

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