Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lilac my love

Wow, how unexpected that spike of temperature about a fortnight ago, though it was good to shake out my cargo shorts. I never complain about the heat for I rarely welcome a chill. Though this surprising leap into the dog days pushed nature into overdrive. I completely welcome asparagus’ early arrival or the unexpected toss of herbs that really have a scent. But I must confess I got thrown off schedule, and I hope I will be available to recover – if Mother Nature is willing to indulge. I totally know better – one should never make firm plans when you are working with a clock set by nature, not a Swiss timepiece.

I was hoping to time the arrival of lilac, which has the habit of blooming in May, in order to execute an idea. The lilac started to come out about two weeks earlier then my radar would have detected due to that race to achieve abnormally timed heat wave. Yes, I had seen some and thought the lilac needed another week on the branch to develop a bit longer and get even stinkier. How could one expect a fever to set in so quickly -- I let the week pass little did I think of rain. It has now been three days and counting of precipitation – not good at all. My nightly prayers are for clearing skies and daily rays that dry out the petals, and hope they are not too worst for the wear. Alas, otherwise this will be another desire filed away until next year.

This member of that big ‘ole family the lilies, lilacs are not just beautiful to behold but edible to boot. While their aromatic presentation may be a tad redolent of grandmother’s eau du toilet judiciously they offer a floral explosion that few other buds can match. I tend to capture the boldness of this perennially blooming bush in sugar or salt. This year I want to make an essence – meticulously plucking the buds free from their branches and cramming them into a jar. Weight them down with a rock, and douse them with grain alcohol. Sitting quietly in the dark for a few months I will then filter this tincture of spring just as I am returning to layering with wool, and anticipating the frost of a winter’s slumber.

I am off to the market to see if this will be the year for my eau du vie du Lilac.

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