August 11, 2014


The scent in the air is familiar this last day of spring as I push my granddaughter's baby carriage, strolling the new neighborhood where my son and his family have moved. I spot the purple lilacs just above my head, blooming in splendor on tall bushes surrounding a stately home. I pull a branch down and push my face into the luxuriant bouquet, breathing their fragrance full measure. No lilacs grow in the subtropical clime where I've lived for decades.

As a child, I would gather flowers by the armful. I wrapped wet newspapers on the ends of broken stems placed inside an empty bread bag and carried them to my schoolteachers. The lilacs on my grandparents' farm grew wild, richest around the crumbling outhouse, unused for years but an area of fertile soil, no doubt. Our forty-acre farm was a ramshackle collection of chicken coops and old country homes for the extended family complete with oft leaking roofs and splintering wood floors. Only corn and tomatoes were cultivated. It resembled not a whit this neighborhood of brick and granite mansions with manicured lawns.

My granddaughter begins to stir, awakened perhaps by the pause in the rhythm of the carriage wheels rolling on smooth cement sidewalks. I lift her up toward the flowers. Can beautiful memories be inherited?


Photo "Lilacs" provided by MattysFlicks, via Flickr creative commons license.

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