How lilacs made me cry with gratitude
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/06/2021 (479 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I live in an old house in West Kildonan that was built in 1929. When we bought it in 1995, part of the reason was that we loved the many old apple and maple trees in the backyard. We later discovered that there were also two big, old lilac bushes, one white and one purple, right at the bottom of the garden, cuddled up against the back fence.
This past year has been rough for the plants as well as for the humans — a dry winter, not enough rain in the spring, blistering heat and then freezing temperatures, both in May.
It’s been good to see the apple blossom, and now there are lilacs everywhere in the neighbourhood. The scent is just amazing.
The other day I was sitting in my kitchen, looking out at the backyard and worrying about my lilacs. As far as I could see, there were some green leaves but I couldn’t see any blossoms. I was convinced that they were dead, after all these years, and I needed to go to a garden centre, in the middle of the worst wave of the pandemic, and buy more lilacs. I started to wonder where I should plant them, but I was mostly sad for my old friends.
Later I went for a walk in the neighbourhood, checked the mail and came back via the back alley. As I approached my back fence, I was stunned to see a plethora of gorgeous purple and white lilac blossoms leaning over the fence, waving gently in the breeze, sharing their beauty and smell with everyone who walked past. They were completely invisible from the house.
As I rushed up to greet them, I found myself weeping with joy, relief, and gratitude. I also realized that they had taught me an important lesson.
We can’t see and share the beauty of the world if we are hiding in our houses, even now when we have to stay away from each other to keep everyone safe. We can still walk in the streets, make people smile at a safe distance, support local businesses, donate to local non-profits and do our part to keep the community safe and thriving. Self-care is crucial, but we have to get out and support others to really make it through this time.
As Hillel the Elder said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”
I think the lilacs would agree.
What are you doing to help yourself and your community through these times? I’d love to know.
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/
West Kildonan community correspondent
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan.