Sunday, March 14, 2010


Pictures of growing spring, and farms, and homes,
With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright,
With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking sun, burning, expanding the air;
With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves of the trees prolific;
In the distance the flowing glaze, the breast of the river, with a wind-dapple here and there;
With ranging hills on the banks, with many a line against the sky, and shadows;

And the city at hand, with dwellings so dense, and stacks of chimneys,
And all the scenes of life, and the workshops, and the workmen homeward returning.

Whitman "When Lilacs Last . . ."

We're still in the mud-stage, but this morning, I noticed four clumps of tulip greens---the faithful old things were here when we moved in, and that's 12 years ago. Last year they didn't even bloom, but we left them there in hope, sorta like a faithful old dog who's outlived his huntin' days, but still deserves a place by the fire.

And Miss Effie, the nesting flamingo who sits at the foot of the BIG TREE, will soon lay a few tiny pastel eggs in her nest, in honor of the Season. She's been with us since three houses ago. You DO know that flamingoes sitting on a nest are NOT TACKY, don't you? Just wanted to be sure.

And the little corner fern has three bright green fronds peeking out above last year's blanket of leaves in the hosta beds. The moss is a verdant blanket of velvety hues, all across the back garden, and with today's clock-spring, the real one promises to be right around the corner. Before we know it, the grapevines will be sending out their little seeking fingers and the Fairy Dell will be filling with the gleamy leaves of millions of little purple violets. The Winter-crimped carpet of ivy is already beginning to green up and shine, and even a couple of bushes have either retained lots of fresh leaves, or they're just jumping out to get a head start.

I've had the lilac-print tablecloth on the breakfast table for weeks now, and I think I'll go twine the silk ones into the chandelier---I've never known lilacs, as they were more New Englandish flowers than Delta ones, speaking of poems and thaws and mossy woods, but they have always been such a romantic idea, kindled by Whitman and Gladys Taber and Miss Emily, though I never DID think "Lilac Seas" was my kind of poem, being so grim and cryptic, and all.
And the pronunciations---having never SEEN a lilac, or having heard the word pronounced, I accepted the March girls' high-falutin "lie-lacks" as the true way, and then when other movie stars spoke of "lye-locks"---well, I was confused as heck. I do like the country way of saying plain old lilacs, just like it looks and feels.
And I DO love them now, as real, touchable, smellable flowers, with a way of perfuming the air with magic, from a long way away. And despite their soft sprays and fragile beauty, they're fleeting, but not flighty flowers---they're good solid old kitchenyard and arbor and gatepost LILACS, pure and true, and I'm so glad to know them.


Pear tree cottage! said...

O! it just feels so purfect to be back reading and catching up on your blog dear friend. Lee-ann

Southern Lady said...

That's a beautiful picture, Rachel ... and a beautiful story to go with it. I sent this to a friend of mine who loves Lilacs. I know she's going to enjoy it as much as I did.

Best wishes for a Happy Monday however you spend it.

racheld said...

Oh, Lee-ann!!

I'm always SO glad to see your name pop up!!! I hope this means you and Rob are doing well, and that he is improving every day---I think of you SO often, and know the coming Spring will brighten your days even more.

And Janie---I cannot claim the photo---it is a "free" one from the Internet. It was so small I couldn't really tell how it would be, but when it came throught, it was just so delicately velvet and of such perfect beauty---I just caught my breath.

I STILL cannot imagine standing beneath a tree of these. Magical.

Keetha said...

I don't know lilacs, either, or how you pronounce the name but the word evokes spring.

The quince and forsythia (sp?) are blooming here and surely spring can't be far away. You know we'll have a couple of days of spring before zooming into summer. Just like always!

racheld said...

Forsythia is perfect, Keetha, but my Mammaw always called it "yella-bell." Doesn't that just say it all?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Rachel, I am looking at and smelling the forced hyacinth that looks sooo much like a lavender lilac. And the spousal unit has bought me two yellow !! lilac plants for our yard. Can hardly wait to see if they make it here. Chesapeake

Kim Shook said...

I have planted 3 lilacs in my yard over the years and not one has thrived. I love them so much and folks down the street have a beautiful one that I go and sniff at during my walks. I DO have a lilac colored crepe myrtle that looks like a lilac if I don't have my glasses on!