Bringing the outside in

Each May the lilac outside our front window bursts into heavily scented blossom. It’s such a short-lived flowering and a reminder to me of the passing of the seasons. Running along in the background of our overly busy and disconnected lives the world around us ticks along to its own beat, flowering in the same weeks in the same months triggered by subtle changes in temperature and light. I can’t control when it flowers, all I can do is appreciate it when it does. This year I’ve picked a few blossoms to turn into lilac syrup so I can preserve their scent for a few weeks longer. For our pre-fridge ancestors preserving the fruits of the spring and summer would have been the only way to store food, but beyond the purely practical there is something lovely about bottling produce at the height of its plumptiousness and then opening the bottle weeks or even months later to be plunged back into the glory of a May hedgerow or a bountiful summer garden. Last autumn I made hedgerow syrup and in the winter it reminded me of picking brambles in the woods in the warm dying days of the summer; a light in the darkness.

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