Mennonites settled Steinbach, and it seems to me that they loved to plant lilacs wherever they went. This is excellent, because now we are left with plentiful lilac bushes scattered all over town. This time of year, it’s one of the things I’m most thankful for, as they’re beginning to bloom.
My grandma loves gardening, has a remarkable green thumb. She loves lilacs too, and has always shared this love with anyone that would listen. I listened.
When I was growing up, my family lived on the same farmyard as my grandparents. This closeness enabled me to spend many warm summer afternoons touring my grandma’s many beautiful flowerbeds scattered throughout the property. I’d hurry my bare feet over the soft worn dirt path winding through chokecherry trees to my grandparents house. Usually, she’d see me before I saw her, because she was always in a different flowerbed… and there were MANY flowerbeds. She’d call out, “Erin! Erin! Come see this!” I’d hurry over and hunker down and stare at a new bud pushing its way through the dirt, as my grandma beamed proudly. Abruptly, she’d leap up and demand that I follow her. Off we would trot, to see all kinds of new plants and flowers. She taught me about the elusive and rare Ladyslipper — finding one on our walks was akin to stumbling upon a pot of gold.
There were MANY lilac bushes all over the place, on the farm. Lilacs don’t bloom for very long, just a few weeks every spring and then that’s it.
I’m lousy at describing tastes… and I think I’m also lousy at describing scents. What does a lilac smell like to me? Childhood. Youth. Springtime. Family. Love.
I’m no longer on the farm… but I’ve been delighted to find lilacs growing EVERYWHERE here in Steinbach.
Here’s some of what I see on my daily walk to work:
And yes, I stop and smell every one. BEST COMMUTE EVER! (There’s more than this, but they’re all by people’s homes, and taking pictures like that is maybe a bit creepy.)
To me, there’s just nothing quite like the scent of a lilac. Makes me feel like a little girl, running barefoot down that dirt path over to grandma’s.