Saturday, February 28, 2009

Where the Lilacs Bloom

It won't be long now. We've got a forecast for snow tonight. With forays to Maine, Nova Scotia, Cambridge, and beyond scheduled intermittently through the coming year, seasons have been on my mind. I'm feeling a sense of grounded relief to have my boots stuck in the muck of Green Harbor again. My poor guy is still shivering up in Nova Scotia.

The amusing irony for me, these past weeks, has been the weather warning chorus. Everyone, upon hearing I'd be spending time in Nova Scotia, bade me be careful of the freezing and snow. Nova Scotia's weather report is very, very rarely different from the one in my home town. It is a little bit colder on most days by a degree or two. This year we actually got the greater amount of snow down here on the balmy shores of Green Harbor. It's 40 degrees this morning. Back in Halifax, where I left my darling boy, it's 39. We have snow forecast. Halifax has rain.

Honestly? On most given days it would be impossible to tell the difference between the Halifax in Nova Scotia and the one a few miles south of here.

Some might be dismayed by the similarity. I am not. In spite of having crappy lungs and very problematic skin, I love seasons and don't mind the cold weather. Plus, my home-away-from-home has something in common with the home of my heart.

Just outside both doors are the first shout of joy to meet the spring, my favorite flower: lilacs. There really is no point in spring without them. Antique, fluffy, burgeoning bunches of pale purple giving off a scent that can't be rivaled. Some people meet the snowdrops and crocuses, the daffodils and hyacinth with a renewed heart. For me, lilacs will always mean comfort, joy, sweetness, and home. I've never lived anywhere without an astonishing bush of these flowers by my door. Ahmed tried buying a shrub for the brownstone that was once his bachelor pad. We ended up transplanting the good ones from Maine. Antique lilacs are completely different. The flowers are heavy, dense clusters. The fragrance is heady and pure.

Seeing the shape of the leaves, left dry and brittle, on the stalks by the door in the little place we have in Dartmouth, just over the bridge from Halifax, Ahmed promised that spring was going to come. We both laughed, but it gave me more than hope. It reminded me that wherever we are, we can find a sort of satellite that transforms the place into a second home. With someone we love close by it's not hard.

And lilacs. You have to have lilacs.


  1. Lilacs are my favorite flower as well. Always have been.

  2. I love lilacs and your descriptions are beautiful.

  3. I lilacs, lilacs. My favorite, too! We just moved to Ohio a little over a year ago and bought a house in the winter. I'd warned my husband that, after 11 years in FL where lilacs don't grow, I WAS going to plant some in my Ohio yard.

    Then spring came... and I discovered I already have two! The purple one is about 12 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and on the side of the house, and the white one is about 16 feet tall, 10 feet wide, and out front in the corner of the yard.

    I'm happy.

  4. I adore lilacs. I can't wait for spring, when the heady scent of blooming flowers will come back out again!!

  5. Some of the first lilacs grown in this country were planted right in my county. They came over with the Pilgrims as clippings! They're still growing.

    My rows are probably the grandchildren of those. They are my absolute pride.

    In spring when you drive down route 3A through Marshfield, Duxbury, and Kingston you MUST put your windows down. The smell fills the air.