The perfume of spring, and our lives . . .
As a child I heard my mother sing the old song, “Jeanene, I dream of lilac time, when I return, I’ll make you mine,” I loved the words, the melody, and my child’s mind wondered where that person was, and who he’d “make mine” when he returned. (Even then I knew it was a man-woman song.)
As I grew older I learned the song was of World War I vintage, written during a war-ravaged April by some lonely man in the trenches of France, dreaming of lilac time at home, and of the one he loved.
The perfume of those purple blossoms cannot, to me, be rivaled by any other flower, and even blindfolded one can tell its lilac time. And nothing can compare in beauty, either, to a long hedge-row of them, all abloom. With the perfume drifting to you, you know, long before your eyes see them what flower is in bloom.
Years ago, my own love came a-calling for the very first time with his arms full of those sweet purple blossoms, and I think he won my heart right there and then. And whenever I hear of someone filling a room with flowers for the one they love, I remember lilacs and recall how my mother’s home was filled with bloom, just for me.
So, one of the first things I planted when we finally had our own home was lilacs. My choice of location was poor, however, and though they lived and bloomed, they never turned out to be the magnificent hedge I wanted.
AW died at lilac time and heaps of expensive flowers covered his grave. But, silently and alone, that night when everyone else had gone, I went back and put lilacs over his head. Oh, I was so grateful to each person for sending their flowers, but he loved lilacs, and lilacs were in bloom, so I saw to it that they rested over his grave.
During his lifetime, he (as many men foolishly do) grew sensitive over his love of beauty, and sadly stopped showing it. I decided it had been but a youthful, spur of the moment idea that had brought those arms full of lilacs to my door as a young girl.
But then, one lilac time when he thought he was unobserved, I saw him walk out to the blooming bushes as if on some trifling errand, but no. He stopped by that purple hedge, gathered his open hands full of the uncut blooms and buried his face in them. He soon stepped back, and dropped his hands, but as he seemingly walked casually away, there were tears in his eyes, and I knew that love of beauty still lived deep within, and I was sad that it had become so hidden.
And so, it’s lilac time, and my memory recalls, first, mother’s sweet voice singing of their lure, next, of my mother’s house filled with them, just for me. This memory is followed with the one of me planting a hedge of then at my own home, the deeply engraved on my mind is seeing his face buried in a hand full of them, and finally, yes, finally as they lay gently over his grave.
Yup, and again, again, all my life, there’ve been days marked by Lilac Time. And it’s lilac time again.