I'm trying to convince my mother to let us plant a lilac bush in her backyard next year. She doesn't need a whole lot of convincing, to be sure. But I may as well be honest and admit that I want the lilac bush just for me (like I want her to keep the rhubarb just for me, too). I'll go up in future springs and, in the privacy of someone else's backyard, stand like a swooning drunk, eyes closed, breathing in lilac perfume. I want white and light- and dark-purple lilacs, planted in a scented cloister to build the seclusion she'd like.
In the perfect world, we'd plant lily of the valley all along the sides of the house, too. Maybe just one side. Then I could fill tiny bud vases with the delicate lily-bells and large matronly vases with branches of lilac.
The house at which my family lived before moving to the house in which my mother now lives had lily of the valley planted along both sides of the house, and there were two lilac bushes. I think they were my favorite part of spring. Here in Chicago, I see lilacs around the neighborhood (and someone had lily of the valley, but I don't recall where any longer), but none of them are mine - I can't go around sniffing strangers' lilacs! Neither can I steal branches under the cover of midnight, nor pluck fragile fragrant bells.
Maybe in Exile I'll console myself with a fortress of spring-scented purple and white. If I must be banished for a hundred years, bearing heavy sleep and solitude, I may as well dream in a cloud of lovely color and perfume.