After the first lilacs bloom, showing off their lavender faces and sweet smell, our delicate white lilac bush shrugs out its flowers. Our “white” is not as strong as our other scents, but its scent is lighter and enticing.
It’s hard to imagine that anything could smell better than purple lilacs, but the white lilac has a scent that is at once light, clear, sweet, and sharp.
The Mythology of Lilacs in Greek Culture
One day, a naughty guy named Pan tried to catch a beautiful nymph named Syringa. She was scared of him, and because she was a nymph, she could use magic, which she did. Syringa turned into a lilac bush so that Pan wouldn’t find her.
Syringa’s beauty couldn’t be hidden completely, and her lovely scent was still in the air. Pan couldn’t stand the smell, so he stopped and broke off a branch. He felt terrible about what he had done, so he tried to kiss the branch, but he heard a noise when he did.
Pan had just made a legendary musical instrument called a “panpipe.” (It’s made of wood.) The name “Syringa” for the lilac bush comes from the Greek word for “pipe,” which is also the nymph’s name.
Another White Lilac Legend
Greek mythology is fine, but I have a different story about the white lilac.
A white-haired older woman who lived alone on her farm had tight, curly hair. Her husband had been dead for 23 years. While planting a new bush, he had a stroke and died with his hand still on the shovel handle. He died just a few steps from where they had buried their old dog.
The older woman did the best she could with her life. As she worked, songs kept coming out of her mouth. She brought food to her sick friends. She went to Bible study every week. She liked giving money to good causes, and she always gave as much as she could. Bouquets of fresh flowers from her garden were often given to people she knew and businesses she went to.
Kindness that comes from the heart.
End of Story, Start of Legend
One night, when the moon was full and white, the older woman sat on her porch as usual and watched the moonlight sparkle on the old lilac bush that her husband had planted all those years ago. When she went to bed that night, she couldn’t stop thinking about how sweet and sharp her husband’s kisses were.
She smiled as she walked into a warm, fragrant place where her husband was waiting with their dog.
After many generations, white lilacs grew all over their land, making it look beautiful and filling the air with a sweet scent. They were a reminder of love, the power of goodness, and a little older woman with white curls and a good heart.