I had decided last week that the F.O.A.M. (flowers on a Monday) for this week would be lilacs. They are just coming into full bloom in my part of the world and their scent fills the neighborhood. I never actually realized how prevalent lilac bushes are in my neighborhood; when you’re actively looking for them you see them everywhere. Perhaps they fade from my mind because their blooms fade so quickly from the spring landscape and their nondescript foliage causes them to blend away into the background of the bold summer blooms.
As I was thinking about what to write for this post, I was struck with how flowers can evoke strong memories, connecting us to our past, to our history, to the places and people that we love.
Lilacs are one of my husband’s favorite flowers because of the memories they bring for him. When he was a teenager his best friend’s mother, Mrs. N., remarked how much she enjoyed the smell of lilacs. The next day my husband brought her a bouquet of lilacs that he had cut from his yard; he did this every spring into his young adult life. After we married, we moved away for 5 years when we had the chance to buy our first home…which just happened to be next store to Mrs. N! The first spring in our new home my husband renewed his lilac bouquet tradition. Over the next 26 years Mrs. N received a bouquet of purple lilacs from my husband, even when she transitioned into a nursing home a few cities away he made it a point to take her a bouquet. This past autumn Mrs. N died, but the lilacs will always bring a reminder of the joy and special friendship that blossomed between the two of them.