Lilac Season

There are several enormous lilac bushes that grow just outside my office. And when I say “enormous”, I mean that the tops of the bushes are level with my second-story office window:


Stupid fucking window glare! I’m an accountant Jim, not a photographer. Also, objects in this picture are way closer than they actually appear. If I popped out the window screen I could reach out and pick those lilacs.

So really, they’re more lilac TREES than bushes at this point, given they’re like 12 feet tall.

IS there technically a bush / tree height classification cut-off point?  Are bushes only bushes until they reach a certain height, then they’re considered trees? Who would arbitrate such decisions? Why is life so confusing?  Where are my shoes?


When the lilacs first start to bloom, my office is the best-smelling place in the world. The scent wafts in on the breeze, so ethereal that you’re not even quite sure whether it’s actually there or just a figment of your imagination. It’s like being gently haunted by the essence of springs past. It makes me think of the lilac bush (also much more tree-like in stature) that grows on the corner of my parents’ lawn, and makes me remember my childhood ritual of picking several vases full of lilacs for my mom’s birthday every year.

As more lilacs bloom, the scent gets stronger. Two or three days after that first magical ghost-of-springs-past whiff, you’re into Obvious Lilac Smell territory. I don’t mind OLS territory. It still smells good in a non-distracting way, like a pleasant background note.

Four to five days after the initial bloom things start to really go downhill, though. The scent becomes this syrupy, ironically almost artificial smelling caricature of the original exceedingly delicate scent. This usually coincides with a heatwave around these parts, which only serves to further intensify what has now becoming overzealous granny perfume stank. Baked lilac is NOT a good scent, folks. At its zenith, it’s nearly strong enough to taste and is borderline headache-inducing. This is the point at which I usually find myself stomping around shutting windows and firing up the A/C, just to escape the smell.

Speaking of which, it’s supposed to be 90 degrees here today, so if you’ll excuse me I have a few last deep sniffs of reasonable-level lilac smell to enjoy before I slam all these windows shut, fire up this industrial-sized air conditioner and descend into a nice cool cocoon of white noise, low humidity and non-smelly-ness.

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