Sunday, May 16, 2010

When Lilacs Last on My Kitchen Table Bloom'd....

(Lilac in our backyard last spring)

As I finish lunch on this beautiful Sunday afternoon and prepare to hunker down and work on my online Shakespeare class at Brave Writer, the bountiful bouquet of white and lavender lilacs fill my kitchen with their distinctive sweet-n-spicy scent. With apologies to Walt Whitman and his lovely poem from which I stole my title, I can't help feeling a quiet joy each time I inhale the lilac-perfumed air.

Yes, 'tis the blessed season for the mountain lilac which blooms fragrantly all over our small town--in front yards, over fences, along back decks, even wildly in the few vacant lots around town. Their appearance is all-too-brief; in another week or two they'll be gone, shriveled brown reminders with the merest whiff of fragrance remaining. Because our two lilac bushes are in a very shady spot in our yard, they're among the last to bloom in town, often several weeks after the sunny-climed bushes have long lost their white and purple blossoms.

Mountain weather is so changeable. On Tuesday night I wore heavy jeans, a long-sleeved sweater, boots, and a suede jacket to our monthly writers' workshop meeting and the mercury dropped below freezing overnight while today the front porch thermometer reads 90+ and after church I donned shorts, tank top, and flip flops. The boys flopped onto the sofa, claiming how hot it they will do every day throughout the summer.

Today also marks the official "changing of the guard" from winter to summer as I stripped off the uber-warm red flannel sheets from our bed and laid out crisp, palest blue cotton sheets, perfectly fit for summer. Off goes the red-flowered and green-leaved cream flannel duvet cover, buttoned around our down comforter, and on goes a thin cornflower-blue and white quilt. I plumped the feather pillows, removing red flannel pillow slips and replacing with eyelet-edged white slips. The green electric blanket will be packed away and replacing it is a thin blue blanket for cooler nights. Soon the oscillating fan will be turned on as we face the four-five months of summer heat which are blessedly relieved by cool mountain nights. This seasonal change is unheard-of "down the hill" in San Diego where the weather so rarely changes. The joke is that native San Diegans claim that temperatures under 65 are cold, and temperatures above 75 are hot. Spoiled rotten, we are.

My fingers itch to be out in the garden today, pulling weeds, trimming and tying back roses and "hockey pucks" (what Keith calls my hollyhocks). The boys managed to get the lawn mowed yesterday--we had to replace the battery and pump up the tires to get it working; meanwhile, our yard turned into lush jungly grasses--savannah-like, actually. It's a relief not to have to bushwhack my way around the yard any longer. The boys will do more weed-eating this afternoon after the temperatures cool--and after they clean the house while E is at work, housekeeping at the nearby Bible camp. But Shakespeare calls, so to work on Hamlet shall I go.

So now, with lilacs blooming on my kitchen table, a lovely arrangement we used on our Pine Valley Community Gardens bake sale table at the plant sale yesterday, I will hie me off my blog and back to discussions of Hamlet's apparent insanity. I leave you with the Collect for the Sunday after the Ascension from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:

O GOD, the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven; We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

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