Monday, May 18, 2009

the lilac fort


The lilacs are in bloom. Lilacs are such a favorite of mine. I wish they bloomed longer. It seems like such a cheat that they only bloom for a short couple of weeks. I keep my windows open so that their delicate scent drifts in and I catch it each time I sit or pass by the windows (ha...who am I kidding...when do I get to sit down, pass by with a kid under each arm and a basket of laundry on my head is more like it). All it takes is the tiniest little tickle of their scent and I am refreshed. I'm not sure if it's some aromatherapy thing or if it's the memories that scent conjures for me that is responsible.

Out in the backyard just behind and beside the swingset was a huge stand of lilac bushes. They grew as high as the swingset and grew in a large stand all along the side of the bus garage next door. We used to pick bunches of the blossoms and bring them in to give to our mother. The scent was heaven to me even when I was a child. What looked like a dense stand of lilac bushes was actually the entrance to an enchanted world. My brothers and sisters and I discovered the secret fort... or so we always thought and no one told us otherwise. Over time, little feet eventually beat down paths into the lilac fort. We'd tromp over the paths and part the branches and enter into our own little world. A world that was inhabited by all the wonderings of our imaginations. We dragged area rugs from the barn and put them down on the clearing floor to mark off rooms and make it cozier. We made tables and chairs out of rocks and leftover bits of wood. All this we did ourselves. Half the fun was in making the lilac fort our own. I don't ever remember a grownup once stepping foot into this world of ours. Sometimes we were the Swiss Family Robinson living in the jungle treetops and friends to the wild animals. Sometimes we were children who had run away from the orphanage to live in the wild outdoors. Sometimes we were hiding from bandits or "bad guys" and we had to band together to outwit them and evade capture. We played in the lilac fort all spring and summer long. Whiling away long hot days in the cool shade of the clearing, sipping Koolaid and eating popsicles. The best time of all was when the lilacs were in bloom and we'd play out there and drink in the scent of the multitude of blossoms. It truly was heaven on earth. It now only exists in our memories. Years ago, my mother asked one of my brothers to trim the bushes, I have no idea why since I can't remember her ever trimming them before. He was a tad over eager and before she knew it the huge stand of lilacs was decimated. A few years after that my father decided to clear out all the brush on that side of the yard and they took out almost all the remaining lilacs. Only a few remain. They still create a shady area and curve around just enough to make a hidden area. A very small hidden space but enough. When we go to my parents house and the kids head outside to play, they can very often be found playing back there...hiding from the world of us grownups and romping in the garden of their imaginations.

6 comments:

Sarah said...

beautiful Marie! We had a forsythia fort when I was little. such fun.

EntertainingMom said...

Such a beautiful story! You do realize that many people do not know of Swiss Family Robinson? I think you have dated yourself!!!

Sarah said...

No worries on dating yourself. I know who the Swiss Family Robinson is, and you both know that I am practically a child I'm so young! LMAO!

karla said...

love lilacs, we have one outside our master bedroom window. I love the scent. Our lilac season is over and has been for about 3 weeks now. We have trimmed our back in hopes that it will bloom profusely next year.

Marie said...

LOL!!! Damn! Now there's no denying I'm no Spring chicken. ;)

Anne said...

Marie you captured that fort perfectly!!! And FYI...my class watched Swiss Family Robinson in second grade...1987..lol