Saturday, May 30, 2009

catching up

Originally uploaded by norvegal

Spring isn't an easy time in Maine. While the rest of you are bragging about your daffodils and tulips, we're still shoveling out from the latest snow storm. By the time we finally catch up with the rest of the country, you're already in your bathing suits headed to the beach. When the lilacs finally bloom, which is happening right now, most folks can only reply distractedly, "Lilacs? Huh? Oh yeah, I remember those."

The lilacs represent a particularly special time here because they take hold of my life for one intoxicating week. My house is bordered by two enormous lilac hedges. By "enormous," I mean that each hedge is literally the size of a small house -- in fact one hedge surrounds a cellar pit where an old cape used to stand.

When these lilacs bloom, which they're in the midst of doing right now, everything smells of lilacs. If I walk out onto the porch, I am engulfed in that warm sweet powdery fragrance. Not a stenchy, headache-inducing synthetic perfume but the real deal. I can't see a single lilac from there, but I can smell them as clearly and intensely as if a huge bouquet were right beneath my nose.

And it's all happening right now. At this very moment, as I type these words, everything smells of lilac. Fresh flowers are, for me, the absolute epitome of luxury. (Well, that and freshly squeezed orange juice, clean sheets, and sweaters that never pill.)

So this is my favorite brief and enchanting period of time. It feels almost magic, as if fairies have been allowed to take over the world for a week. It is decadence and abundance, the floral version of suddenly having a machine that spouts $100 bills, or a faucet that offers up hot chocolate and fresh chilled lemonade. I only wish this blog had smell-o-vision so that you could enjoy it with me.


rho said...

Lilac - one of the best smells in the world - along with wisteria and lily of the valley :D

Melanie said...

I love the smell of lilacs! Do you also have white lilac? Whenever my grandma would see white lilac, she'd start singing a ridiculously silly song, probably from the late 40s, about white lilac. For me, the smell of lilac goes hand in hand with the memory of her singing.

I really enjoyed your daily blog and wish you a wonderful summer!

Clara Parkes said...

Ah Rho, you are correct - lilacs, wisteria, and lily of the valley make up the holy trinity of smells.

Melanie, I don't have any white lilacs but others near me do. From now on I'll think of your grandma when I see them.

rho said...

I was reminded of one more favorite gardenia .... that was my wedding bouquet in fact :D

booksNyarn said...

Ooh! I found your blog - and with a perfect post. Lilacs always remind me of growing up. We shared my grandparents' home - and my grandpa had a border hedge of them. When we moved, the soil wouldn't take them. :( But every time I catch their scent - I am a youngster again. Thank you!