Sunday, May 13, 2007

Imported Roses and Barnyard Lilacs

Ah, roses! The ones pictured at the left were shipped to us from Ecuador a few days before my daughter's wedding a couple of years ago. Do-it-yourself-ers that we are, and budget conscious to boot, we created all the sanctuary decorations, reception hall centerpieces, and bouquets by hand. The picture doesn't do justice to the depth of red in these beautiful blooms. And so far, Blogger hasn't offered smell-o-net, so you can't drink in their intoxicating fragrance, either.

Roses like these aren't part of my everyday life.

Most of the blooms gracing my dining room table throughout the year either come from the flower cooler at Wal-Mart or from my yard.

As exquisite and rare as were those enchanting wedding roses, I've been enamored this week with the common lilac.

When we put a family room addition on our house years ago to accommodate the fact that our 12 x 12 foot living room had a tough time handling two adults, two teens, and a toddler (Yes, I spaced my children too far apart!), I had to uproot a large, prolific lilac bush. Many of my growing up years were spent in a loving home with a whole hedge of lilacs, so losing that bush represented a deeper pain than just saying goodbye to a shrub. I'd have to say goodbye to the reminder of memories it represented.

I determined to try to save chunks of the root to plant along the eastern edge of the part of our yard to the north of the driveway. Because the original bush was so large, I salvaged enough root/twig ensembles to plant a dozen hopefuls.

It's now twenty years later and they're just now blooming well! For the first ten years or so, the twigs grew so slowly I thought most of them didn't make it. Then they spent a few more years producing a mere bloom or two. Hardly satisfying to a lover of lilacs.

But this year I was able to pick armfuls of them! I have containers scattered throughout the house full of lilacs. The fragrance is strong enough to knock me flat, but I wouldn't change it for anything at this point.

Lilacs are such a common flower. They grow best near old barns or the crumbled foundations of homes long abandoned. They seem to thrive in desperate conditions. But the fragrance they give off and the joy they spread as messengers of spring are unparalleled in the world of flowers.

I am such a common flower. But the Bible tells me that if I let Him, God can cause me to carry a sweet fragrance of Christ that brings hope of a spiritual spring for a winter-weary heart.

Soon the centerpiece on my table will be replaced by peonies, then irises, then roadside daisies, then black-eyed Susans...

Right now I'm breathing deep and praying that others will want to breathe deep when they're around me because they imagine they smell lilacs. Or better yet, the Lily of the Valley.


Sally Bradley said...

So wonderful, Cynthia. I love the analogy.

Lilacs are my most favorite flower in the world. I love their smell, their color. Plus they bloom during my birthday.

My parents once trimmed a lilac tree right to the ground. I remember how it hardly bloomed for a few years. I was so sad. I totally understand how you felt there.

E said...

A common flower? You? Pshaw! You are the fairest orchid; the most delicate yellow rose. I am so grateful to have you in my life. AND I wish I could visit your lilacs. Maybe someday!

chrisd said...

What a lovely post! I love all different types of flowers. I like roses but boy are they bossy. Gotta feed them, water them, watch them--they're like infants...

Hope you have a wonderful week (followed you over from Scattered Thoughts)

Amy said...

You're right, mom -- the picture just doesn't do it justice! Thank you for being so creative, and for remembering that special day with me.