Thursday, May 1, 2008
GRATEFUL FOR THE LILAC TREE
The nicest time for my walk to synagogue and back is Passover. The spring sun nudges the nippiness in the air into the nooks of a waning winter, and I feel embraced by waves of warmth that enfold my every step. On either side of the street are the sentinels of spring, now garbed in uniforms of dazzling green dappled with splashes of red, pink, yellow and white. I take a deep breath, inhaling colors and scents of a morning in early spring.
When I walk I tend to get lost in thought. After an initial infusion of the wondrous spring surroundings, I slipped into philosophical musings. With my eyes lowered, I begin a not uncommon excursion into ruminations about God, the meaning of life, the role of religion. These considerations evolved into thoughts about the Torah reading for that morning, my prepared sermonic remarks and matters pertaining to the synagogue. Eventually, worries cropped up about my children, my wife, my aging in-laws, my family in Canada, about the state of Israel and the world. All this is quite a lot of thinking for a short twenty-minute walk, yet it is fairly typical.
Suddenly, a familiar fragrance filtered into my nostrils. I stopped. Above and alongside me hung the lovely and luscious buds of a modest sized lilac tree. I took a cluster gently into my hand, bent over and slowly breathed in the aroma of God’s world. The lilac is my most beloved flower. I was transported back in time to my modest house in Montreal. In front of the house was a patch of grass and one tiny tree-a lilac tree. Each Passover was greeted with the flowering of bright lavender buds and a fragrance that filled me with a sensual experience that merged with the romantic musings of a typical teenager.
Here again, passing over me was the angel of spring, and as she passed, she praised the Author of Nature’s wonder with a song of the lilac’s sweet and sacred scent.
I paused, uttered a brief word of mortal praise, and continued on my way, grateful for the lilac, another link to my life.