When I was in my late teens — and birthdays were sacred — I remember noticing that my absolutely favorite fragrance, that of the purple lilac, coincided exactly with my birthday, June 6.
That held true for a handful of years, until just after my now 14-year-old was preschool age and those very same lilacs began blooming around Mother's Day — that is, mid-May. Suddenly, the pleasure of that indescribable scent wafting along the path of a breeze seemed to me all the more precious and fleeting.
This photo of a nearly fully bloomed cluster of lilacs, from the tree that abuts my home in Middletown, was taken on April 17.
I likely won't have my beloved fresh flowers in vases about the house on my birthday or even for Mother's Day this year. What I do have, and anticipate, is the pleasure of seeing the lilac root I dug up two years ago from that tree and transplanted in the yard directly across from the outdoor table I sit at now, typing away.
The first year, yes, it was a twig in the grass and my husband chided me for even doing so. I implored him to take pity upon it that whole summer as he mowed the grass and aging tulips and maple tree sprouts were chewed up in the blades. Somehow, he did.
And this year my lilac is a respectable bush, not yet blooming, but that's not the point. For someone who never really learned how to grow vegetables, fruits or flowers properly, this lilac bush is a testament to a spontaneous desire for abundance.
Perhaps in 10 years' time, lilacs will begin to bloom before the first day of spring. Rather than focus on the global warming naysayers, I prefer to ponder the certainty that my lilacs will likely still thrive here on the edges of my property — and some day bear flowers.
Even if it is on Valentine's Day.