For two week I’ve been walking by blooming lilacs, bushes loaded with fragrant blossoms. Their sweet smell reminds me of being a child in Spokane (the Lilac City), sitting in the back yard with my little sister, Christine, and sucking sweet nectar from tiny purple blossoms.

It should be enough to inhale deeply as I walk by those blooms every morning; but no, I’ve wanted a branch for myself, sweetening the air at home. There are places I could pull off a branch without leaving a hole for anyone to notice. But early morning walking means I can’t get permission from sleepy homeowners. It wouldn’t be right to take without asking.

For two weeks every purple bush I pass seems to be telling me it’s okay to take a small piece. Yesterday I lost a battle with my conscience – or did I win? I passed by a particularly huge blossoming lilac. I remembered the homeowners are friendly. I imagined asking them for permission to take just one small blooming branch. In my imagination, they said, “Of course!”

I stole a low branch hanging so heavy and rain-soaked  that it nearly touched the pavement. Nobody was around and nobody would ever notice anything missing.


My kitchen smells wonderful! I’ll confess to those friendly people when I see them. I’ll thank them for sharing an intoxicating piece of spring.

I won’t say I’m sorry though!


6 thoughts on “Temptation

  1. Brings to mind Walt Whitman’s lovely (and mournful) poem “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard bloom’d,” inspired by a bush in his mother’s yard.

    “In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
    Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
    With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
    With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard,
    With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
    A sprig with its flower I break.”

    The Civil War had just ended and Whitman wrote “Lilacs” in memory of Abraham Lincoln, who had just been assassinated. Heart-shaped leaves and the bush’s perennial blooming take us on a sentimental (and hopeful) journey. Thanks for sharing your Lilac aroma-filled walks with us!

  2. Thank you Susan for bringing lovely childhood memories back to me. Like Spokane, Billings MT has a cold winter and only a few flowers can make it through. Lilacs were one of those. They indicated that spring had finally come. The smell is one of the most joyful scents and even today I get all giddy inside when I see a Lilac blooming. Thank you for your writings. I am thoroughly enjoying them.

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