The Lure Of Lilac

This season is a celebration of purple in all its hues and all its blooms, and none more so than with the aptly named Lilac flower, or Syringa. These woody stemmed flowers are steeped in myth and poetry and for us signify the beautiful lull and transition from spring into summer. According to Greek mythology Pan, the god of fields and forests, fell hopelessly in love with the nymph Syringa. After endless advances from Pan, Syringa was eventually forced to turn herself into a lilac shrub to protect and disguise herself from him. Sighing in despair, the sound of the wind echoed through the stems enchanting Pan. Believing this to be the cries of his lost Syringa, he created the first set of panpipes to keep her close to him. If we listen carefully perhaps we can hear the lost notes of Pan’s melodies amongst this season’s bouquets.

“When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.”

–Walt Whitman