The Smell of Summer


I can try all I like, but I can’t publish this lilac tree in full bloom! It is not the look of these flowers alone that is powerful, but the experience of standing underneath that lilac tree, on the tarmac road, drinking in its heavenly scent. And part of that experience is that it is so brief, barely a week or two before it will have gone again.

The problem of having such a complex multi-facetted life – working, parenting, loving – is that stress flows from one part of your life into another, without hindrance. If two or more areas come under stress at once, the whole system threatens to collapse. It only takes some prolonged extra pressure at work, and a child taking an overdose again, and suddenly there is a problem. Suddenly you’re not sleeping, not enjoying that book you were reading, forgetting to go out for a walk. Suddenly you find yourself worrying even about the parts of your life that are not in crisis: your elderly father, the sickly tree in the garden. Tired, you function less well, and other parts of your life are less successful: you shout at your husband, your bread doesn’t rise, and you forget the password to your bank account.

You have to beat that stress: that way depression lies. You have to find a lilac tree and stand underneath it, drinking in the scent of summer.

  1. Karen said:

    There are times in life when we are like a pitcher filled first with gravel, then sand, then water… eventually we cannot hold it all. A friend once told me that the beauty of life is found in the small things. So, sometimes, is peace. Your post expresses it so eloquently.

    • Yes, it is just like that pitcher! Except I hope as I get older that my sides grow a little more elastic and I can hold a little more!

  2. It’s always something, isn’t it? One of the hardest things to do sometimes is remind yourself to just breathe. Even better when there’s a lilac tree around. 🙂

    • Don’t worry – only the usual. My daughter is a very troubled young woman and we have this all the time. We’re really good at coping with it… well, as good as you ever get with these things. It doesn’t make the world stop any longer, but it does still ramp up the stress.

      • dhonour said:

        No one should have their ‘usual’ or normal include such stressful (putting it mildly) events. I hope that you and daughter are coping well. Write, write and write some more. Sometimes getting the words out makes it a little less scary.

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