Monday, May 18, 2015

Consider the Lilacs

It is true, the old adage:  “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

But this year, the seasons seem out of sync.  The lilacs came early.  I was not ready.  One must be properly prepared for their annual return.  Lilac season caught me unaware.

Lilac blossoms are tiny delicacies and infused with a perfume scent both distinct and nostalgic.  Even blindfolded, one could not confuse the fragrance with any other floral. 

I think lilacs must have figured greatly in Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” with their honorable subtlety.  They are a symbol of the deep perfection of life.

But lilacs don’t always arrive on schedule, like the Ides of March, which, with profound regularity, arrive promptly on the 15th of March.

This year, lilac season was premature, and too soon gone.

I suppose it is a matter of simple Divine Befuddlement, a cosmic disruption to keep us mortals from thinking that miracles are a convenience of mathematical dependability.  Perhaps we’d become bored in a world of uniformity, casualties of emotional anorexia. 

I don’t know.  But I don’t think it is ever wise to fashion plans and dreams based on assumptions that can become predatory.  Experience is an exacting teacher.

Nevertheless, I embraced the early miracle, and each morning on my daily walk, with logical simplicity and in a scent-induced stupor, I gathered whole branches of lilacs from bushes that were left with a gaping central cavity, nearly hollowed by the theft.  And I arranged them in my vases.

I felt no guilt.  I felt no remorse or regret.  I committed no offense.  I violated no sanctity. I am no renegade.  I was disconnected with conscience, and pilfered with reckless abandon. In fact, I felt a most disturbing state of satisfaction, my integrity intact. Credit my own flagrant passive defiance.

I babbled my conviction that lilacs are a conduit of wisdom, designed to swaddle us with courage and wholeness.  There’s so much humanity in the love of lilacs.  And we all need comfort.

I secretly bless those gardeners who plant this majestic flower and offer a place of order and rest to the feeble and infirm, and those early-morning passers-by in need of a balm.

Man was created that he might have joy…and memories.  Sustained sorrow is exhausting.  Lilacs bring a two-week sabbatical of grace and anesthetic respite. 

It is mysterious how comfort arrives.


Irises (irisi?) have replaced the lilacs.

I don’t steal Irises.  I have my standards.

When lilacs bloom, the world seems to return to its proper axis, and the sacred rhythm of life is restored.

Long after they have left, we remember…and savor the pleasure we know is unique and ephemeral.