I went for a run in my family's Arlington Heights neighborhood today and it was made exceedingly pleasant by all of the spring flowers I encountered!
Tulips are my favorite flowers. If one were to use human characteristics to describe a flower, I would say that tulips are distinguished, yet humble and approachable. They look so stately, but they aren't arrogant. They are sleek and streamlined, but also soft and pretty. I love that they are reliable, poking their heads out every spring to greet the season. I just get so happy whenever I see tulips. So, I was elated to jog by each yard where they were present. The variety of colors always makes me smile.
As much as I love tulips, I recognize that the one flower characteristic they lack is a distinct scent. For that quality, I must turn to lilacs as my favorite. When I arrived, I was so pleased to see the lilac bush in my parents' yard covered with clusters of purple flowers. The fragrance is so intoxicating! It reminds me of our trip to Macinac Island, where lilacs rule the landscape. For me, the smell of lilacs translates to springtime, fresh rain, and renewal. I noticed that while I was running, I would spot the large lilac bushes from a few blocks away. I altered my course to follow the scent of the lilacs, rather than the straight lines of the streets. If I was crossing a street, intending to go straight through the intersection, but saw lilacs to my right, I immediately turned right so that I would get to pass by the lilacs. It may seem silly to some, but I only had so many opportunities to smell the flowers I love.
The third flower I was fortunate to find were apple blossoms. In fact, I can't say I found the apple blossoms; they found me. I was running along under a tree with snowy white blossoms when I stopped dead in my tracks. The scent of apple blossoms filled my nose and I had to stop to drink in the fragrance. There is something so sugary sweet about that smell that it lures me in. Every chance I could get, I would bury my nose in the flowers, inhaling so deeply that there was no more room in my lungs. One spring, I remember cutting brances off of a tree that was so abundant with blossoms that it was sagging. I took the armfuls of branches into my bedroom and displayed them on any surface I could find. I hoped to transform my bedroom so that it felt like I was sleeping in the boughs of a blooming tree. It lasted for a little while, but without the life from the tree itself, soon I just had branches of wilting flowers. From then on, I decided the blossoms were best left on the tree.
One thing that all three types of flowers share is their fleeting, yet recurring lifespan. They can only be found in abundance during a certain time of year. Yet, they return year after year without needing any tending. I think their short-lived availabilty makes them more precious to me, and their consistent seasonal return gives me comfort. I am so glad that I was visiting Chicago during this particular part of the season to be able to be reunited with some of my favorite springtime flowers!