The sweet smell of lilacs brings memories

The Examiner

This past week, I’ve been raking leaves and cleaning up the back yard. It is hard work, but it’s so worth it come summer.

When I walked around to the side of the house, I noticed my lilac bush.

Diane Mack

I am very fond of lilacs. The lilac scent is so powerful that this sweet smelling bush carries me back in time.

My mom, and her father, both grew lilacs. When I think of lilacs, I drift home to Pennsylvania.

I picture the huge lilac bushes in my parents’ backyard. Some were white and some purple.

I recall the year we got a live Easter bunny.

My sisters and I had so much fun with our bunny named Snoopy, whose favorite hiding place was ... under the lilac bush.

A whiff of lilacs will also take me to my grandfather’s farm.

The aroma is so strong that it stimulates my memories of the years on the farm, with my cousins, eating watermelon and canning vegetables. It’s amazing what an odor can do, isn’t it?

Anyway, has anyone else been working on their yard lately? I have and it's exhausting.

Last week, I bagged leaves, and it took forever. Can leaves actually multiply during the winter?

During this past fall, the leaves dropped, which created a nice cover for the lawn, so I thought.

Although I think I’m supposed to rake the leaves and bag them in the fall.

But last year, summer quickly jumped over fall, into winter. That is why I have been bagging leaves for three weeks. I’ve also been pulling weeds. This Saturday, I will aerate the lawn.

Right after the lawn’s breathing treatment, I will then fertilize and sprinkle weed killer.

I can’t imagine why I go to this much extent to grow a healthy lawn and then walk all over it.

Add to it, the flower beds are a mess. They also need to be weeded, and the roses need trimming.

Last night, when I walked around the yard, I stopped in front of the lilac bush, again.

My, the bush had grown. It was nearly ten feet tall.

I only wish I had planted the bush by a window.

I honestly believe there is no flower as aromatic as the lilac. The strong scent carries quite a distance.

In fact, that powerful fragrance carried me the whole way home, to Pennsylvania and the wonderful years with my mother.

How I miss her.

May I share a poem by Edgar Albert Guest?

I ALWAYS think of mother, when

The lilac trees in bloom,

It seems her soul comes back again

Upon its sweet perfume.

And every opal spire that sways

Out in the summer sun

Brings back the good old golden days

Before her work was done.

All mothers love a lilac tree,

And that is why I love it;

The blossoms know, it seems to me,

That angels bend above it.

And when the blooms return again

My skies become the clearest,

Because I seem to feel just then

That mother, dear, is nearest.

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at