Time travel via lilacs

2 Apr

ImageYour sense of smell has a better “memory” than your other senses, I’ve read. I think my sense of smell includes memories that date back to waaaay before I was actually born.

I have a glorious bouquet of lilacs in my office this morning thanks to the kindness of one of my good colleagues who has a huge lilac hedge. He knows we share a deep love for these spring flowers, and he brought me a generous bunch.

The first thing I did was stick my nose in them and inhale. The second thing I did was stick my nose in them and inhale. Now I’m admiring the way they look, too, but, periodically, I have to close my eyes, get close to those gorgeous purple flowers — and inhale.

When I do that, I drift back — to my college years when I would go out of my way to walk past a lilac hedge with my sweetie so we could both enjoy the fragrance. And to my childhood when I would pick bunches for my mother whenever I could.

But it seems as if I’m also going back to decades far earlier, far before I was born. I feel as if I’m in a little Nebraska town in 1900 or soon after, making the best of a life on the prairie and wallowing in the pleasures of spring: the bright green grass, the tiny leaves on the trees and, especially, the gloriously intense scent of the lilac hedges.

I admit that one of my recurring daydreams when I’m driving across Nebraska (NOT on the interstate) is to wonder what my life would have been like here when there was nothing to see but prairie grass in all directions and then, later, when there were little towns along the railroad. That usually brings on a strange feeling of kinship with the women who lived that life, women who died before I was born. So maybe I’m already primed for the lilac-induced trip into history.

For whatever reason, the lilacs and their unique smell are so much more than just pretty flowers. Somehow, they connect me with a past I never lived but  somehow recognize. Maybe it’s a memory. Maybe it’s my imagination. Either way, I am there, andit is incredibly sweet.

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One Response to “Time travel via lilacs”

  1. Judy Shutts April 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    I love this connection to the past.

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