Yes, I know that’s a quote and rip-off from Walt Whitman’s elegy on the death of Abraham Lincoln, but it also expresses my feelings about the lilacs in my front yard. I confess that I love the scent of lilacs, and I look forward every year to their blooming… and four out of five years I’m disappointed. This year is no exception. After two months of spring in winter, yesterday, just as the lilac blooms began to open, the temperature dropped to twenty degrees and it began to blow and snow, and it wasn’t just a few flurries, but a good half foot. Most years where we live, it’s like that. No matter when the poor lilacs attempt to bloom, it snows, and I don’t get to enjoy their fragrance.
Last year, I planted more lilacs, a slightly different variety, and put some of them in more sheltered locations. It didn’t matter. When you have temperatures in the twenties and winds over fifty miles an hour, and snow coming down hard, the lilac blooms don’t stand much of a chance. Now, of course, in two days, the temperatures are forecast to be back in the sixties, but that’s a bit late for the lilacs.
Houseman had it right, except his cherries seemed to bloom without fail every spring; my lilacs face much longer odds.
Still… there’s always next year,
But the lilacs remind me that those rare times of beauty, whether floral or otherwise, are to be cherished, because no matter how things are planned, especially where beauty is concerned, you can’t count on anything except what’s there at the moment to enjoy.