In the early mornings, as I run, I try to stop at every lilac bush, admire, insert my face into the petal-bunches, breathe deeply.
Every bush is a work of grandiose glory. The buds on the clumps of dropping fragrance are slowly opening, slowly filling the air around us with the blessed scent of spring.
There is an old Hungarian song, sung in a minor key and in the round, that sings about the beauty of May, and the lilac flowers that unseen bless the air.
(I just looked it up online. Apparently it’s used by witches, now, as a kids song for baby Wiccans. Le sigh. Otherwise I would have linked, I promise).
When I was a child, my mother would stick her face into the clumps and inhale. Sometimes she would cut the flowers from our neighbor’s overflowing bushes, and bring them inside to be placed in vases–her hands overflowing with purple and white and the stalky branches. I know that the fragrance of lilacs is her favorite, just like Vernor’s is her favorite brand of ginger ale, or “How Great Thou Art” is her favorite hymn.
Lilacs astound me.
It’s as if, every winter, I forget that spring is an actual reality that will one day come again.
And, when the lilacs bloom, I’m incredulous of the wonder of it all.
I do not think that we as a planet deserve this.
My Facebook newsfeed is full of sad, sad things. I’ve received two Amber Alerts in the past week for children in danger. The world is riddled in pain and violence and injustice.
And yet…the lilacs bloom.
I was talking to a friend of mine last week, a new friend, a young priest. We talked about a verse that was read a few weeks ago in Catholic churches across the world.
The verse and the One who says, “Behold, I make all things new.”
All things, my friend said excitedly, can be made new.
I watched his face move in happy hopefulness. I nodded.
And, every morning on my run, I see the lilacs bloom.