Like most old farmhouses in the midwest, ours has several big, sprawling lilac bushes, some purple and some white, at the borders and center of our front lawns. The two intertwined in the center are the largest and oldest: they are thick, intricately braided and give off pungency like a pair of flatulant old lovers. Last month's freak 16+ inch snowfall broke off several of the big, gnarled limbs, and a friend of ours brought his chainsaw to trim them into carrying-sized pieces (as well as to topple a half dozen other dead trees that fell or were snapped in the wind and weight). Last year I also lopped off many doddering heads from the brushy stuff growing along the road. Now with our late spring--or is it more a longer-lasting winter?--the new growth is just coming in and the smell is incredible. It's sweet and heavy but not cloying, like an herbal wine. The blossoms are expolding from dark to light and the bees surround them like jealous lovers. It's a feast of three senses, sight, smell and sound. This afternoon, coming back with my dogs from a walk on the trail in the rain, I stood in the middle of the road for a moment taking it in. It is times like these I am reminded how glad I am sometimes to be here.