Each year my lilac bush grows beautiful, fragrant blooms for me. Each year I resolve to cut this shrub out and make room for something a little more formal and civilized.
There are many kinds of lilac. Some are blue, some lighter colored, some dwarf and easy to fit in smaller spaces. All provide flowers and fragrance in the early spring.
Mine is a basic lilac. In fact, when we first arrived in Middletown, we discovered it near the road, outside our eventual chain link fence, growing unkempt and wild. A bit of research later, and we found that it could be pruned to shape, and improved in production, over a couple of years.
Now you can fast forward 30 years. The shrub is still unkempt and even though we have pruned it, let its new shoots form main branches, and inhaled its lovely fragrance all this time, we still want to be rid of it.
It has totally taken over a portion of the back of the house. It has so many bottom shoots that it is impossible to step in there and even pull the weeds that thrive under its foliage. Maybe this year will be different.
In life, we resolve sometimes to remove old habits. Like the old branches of the ancient lilac, they harden and crust over and go nowhere. They are the ones that we grasp for support in uncertain terrain, even knowing their exact placement. They are the ones that are the last to go, ingrained over many years of tolerance. The new shoots may represent future ideas or needs that are emerging even as we speak, with the brighter sun of spring encouraging their appearance.
It may be that the new shoots, even though they may not produce flowers until years have passed, are the reminder that even though the thoughts and patterns of our lives are still there, they may be approached and pruned out to make room for the new. It all comes from the exact same spot under the ground, unseen.
In that way, everything old is new again.