In the last couple of weeks I’ve been particularly aware of blossoms and blooms in differing shades of purple and relishing their fleeting appearance. Earlier this month my husband and I spent a long weekend in Venice and I was struck by the abundance of flowering wisteria; I hadn’t witnessed Venice in April since I was a student there in 1980 so had forgotten about that particular seasonal splendour:
Over the Easter weekend I walked around London’s Regent’s Park and once again found myself sensitive to the colour purple. I was aware that it happened to be the 3rd anniversary of Prince’s death, one of my favourite musicians, but I don’t think I was consciously or unconsciously thinking about His Royal Purpleness or Purple Rain. It was definitely the lilacs. I’ve always loved their beauty and perfume. When I was growing up we had two lilac trees in our Finchley back garden. We’d pick bunches of lilacs when they were flowering and place them in vases. I remember my disappointment at how short lived that experience was. They started to droop very quickly; it was one of my first experiences of transient beauty and ephemera.
Some more photographs of the lilacs in Regent’s Park:
It was a glorious day and in the photograph below the lilacs are almost sculptural in the strong sunlight:
As I left the park and started walking towards Marlylebone Road I saw more lilacs against a wrought iron gate. These struck me as more austere and solemn and I recalled the opening lines of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land:
April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire:
Also published on Medium.