Lilacs are in bloom all over Missoula.
That might seem like a minor event, but for me, it’s pretty amazing. Mainly because I had no idea that Missoula had lilac trees all over the place.
You see, the winter before last graced us with it’s presence a tad early. In the first week of October, the temperature dropped to around 8 degrees. The leaves had not yet fallen from the trees, and so instead of changing, they simply died. Their limp, brown leaves hung on all through the winter. No one really knew what it meant – had the cold snap killed all the trees? Would they have buds on them next spring?
But rest assured, the next spring, the trees sprang to life. That is, except the lilacs.
It being my first spring in Missoula, I didn’t know there were even supposed to be lilacs, so I didn’t miss them. I noticed the tree in front of our house was a lilac tree and wondered why it didn’t bloom, but that was it.
But this past week, Missoula has been clothed in brilliant purples of every shade. Like a royal parade, these magnificent line our streets.
Are you thinking, “wait a minute – our lilacs bloomed well over a month ago and have long died?” Yeah, see, everything is a little bit slower here. I mean everything. Oh by the way, have you heard of this new band called Backstreet Boys? Kidding, kidding. Backstreet boys are old news. N’Sync is the hot new band.
In all seriousness, life does come at you a little slower in Montana. Sometimes that’s frustrating, like snowfall on Easter. Or Memorial Day even. But its not limited to the seasons, however. The way of life here is a little slower as well. Which again, for an east coast transplant, can be frustrating. Like when your advisor says that the program can take 2 – 4 years to complete. Well, which is it? Two or four? That’s quite a difference! And she shrugs her shoulders and just says “Well, it depends. No rush though.”
But on the other hand, it’s good to slow down. To accept that some winter days, you just won’t be able to get from point A to point B so you might as well put on sweats and light a fire. It might take a full day, and at least three airports, of travel to get home. Letters take a few extra days to get here. You might have to work a little harder to get where you need to, whether it be over the pass or to a new place in life.
But no one is a rush to get anywhere in the first place. Because we’re here and that’s what matters. It might break my little Virginian heart not to see even a peek of a wildflower until late April or even May, but I know I’ll appreciate it more when they come.
And though there is still plenty of snow left up on the mountain tops, the foothill in my backyard is absolutely covered in sunflowers. Maybe it’s a high of 49 today, but they are calling for sunshine on Saturday. And so I’ll wait. I have nothing else to do.