Friday, May 19, 2017


The lilacs are beginning to wane now. Its one of the saddest days of the year for me.

The scent of lilacs is like a gift from heaven. Its full of nostalgia and the headiness of spring and I look forward to them blooming every year. When I was a girl my grandmother had three kinds of scent that she wore: when she dressed for dinner she put on Shalimar. But for every day, she had bottles of something called "toilet water" which was a light scented thing that women used regularly - referring to the term for their cleaning up and getting ready for the day back in Victorian times - toileting. It was the last thing she used every morning before being ready for the day, dabs behind each ear and one on each wrist. Her toilet water came in two scents: lily of the valley and lilac. I used to take the tops off those little glass bottles and smell them, drinking in the wonderful fragrances, and to this day my lily of the valley and lilacs bring all those memories right back to mind. I'm sitting in my grandmother's "dressing room" (who has those anymore?), watching her put on her scent of the day, and letting her dab some behind my ears as well. Those are wonderful memories because my grandmother was one of the people I knew loved me unconditionally and completely and I loved her right back.

So my lilacs are special to me. They are Grandma Warren, the dressing room, the little glass bottles, the whole thing. And I grieve when they wither away for another year.

I put a bunch of them in my white enamel pitcher yesterday and plopped it on the coffee table on the back room. I think I may get one more bunch out of this year's crop, which has been abundant. If I do that will mean I had them in my house for two whole weeks - a banner year for lilacs. 

And then, I'll be dreaming of the day they come out again, next May, right around Mother's Day to remind me of the strong and wonderful women I had in my life. Lilacs can do that to me. 

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