Sunday, March 20


Lilacs and Peaches ©Melody Phaneuf

Lilacs and Peaches by Melody Phaneuf

Perhaps lilac is the most abundantly feminine of flowers. It came from Eastern Europe and was imported into the West in the sixteenth century. A Slav flower.

Among the mountains here, the lilac trees flower at the time when the first cuckoos sing. Cuckoos and lilac come as a pair. The cuckoo is pure impudence. Later when he falls silent after mating, he eats grubs and caterpillars -- even those which are poisonous for other birds -- with impunity ...

The days are becoming long, and in the evening I sit in the kitchen reading without a light. On the windowsill is a jug with a flowering branch of lilac, which I cut in a friend's garden. It is pale purple, the color of a much-washed ultramarine blue shirt ... When I glanced up a moment ago, the branch of lilac in the fading light looked like a distant hill of blossoming trees merging into the dusk. It was disappearing.

The walls of the house are thick, for the winters are cold. On the window embrasure, close to the windowpanes, hangs a shaving mirror. As I look up now, I see reflected in the mirror a sprig of the lilac branch: each petal of each tiny flower is vivid, distinct, near, so near that the petals look like the pores of a skin. At first I do not understand why what I see in the mirror is so much more intense than the rest of the branch which, in fact, is nearer to me. Then I realize that what I am looking at in the mirror is the far side of the lilac, the side fully lit by the last light of the sun.

Every evening my love for you is placed like that mirror.

-- John Berger And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos