While I do have to drive in to work every day, I typically park a short distance from the Mitchell House so that I can walk a bit to and from work. It’s a short walk but an inviting break to think and reflect and to take in the day’s sights.
This is one such sight at the end of May and beginning of June. Lilacs in bloom. One of my favorites. This large and old bush is located in the yard of Joseph Starbucks’s house. Whale merchant with the requisite candle manufactory in his backyard (that’s what happened here early on), Starbuck has become more famous in today’s world for the three bricks he built his sons on Main Street and the infamous legend that he then told his daughters that their husbands would take care of them. They did. His daughters were Eunice Starbuck Hadwen and Eliza Starbuck Barney – women’s and slaves’ rights advocates.
I like to think that the lilac dates to Joseph’s time. Typically, when they first came from Europe, lilacs were planted by front doors – or so they say – for people to enjoy their scent. Over the years, I have noticed lilacs growing in the median space of highways and in the middle of what seems to be nowhere – but knowing of their “closeness” to houses, I always assume that a house must have once stood where this lilac continues to grow as cars sadly speed by along the highway.
In any case, I am pretty sure I have noted this before but I grew up with lilacs around my childhood home – I remember my Mom leaning out the second floor bathroom window to cut them from the top of one of the bushes. It’s one of my favorite flowers – one of my favorite scents. It reminds me of being little.
And so, perhaps, if they did plant it, I should say, “Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Starbuck for making my walk a little sweeter.”