May 22, 2015

Lilac Mornings

"Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light. 
It was what I was born for – to look, to listen, to lose myself inside this soft world – to instruct myself over and over in joy, and acclamation. 
Nor am I talking about the exceptional, the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant – but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab, the daily presentations. 
Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these – the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean's shine, the prayers that made out of grass?" Mary Oliver

My mornings smell like lilac these days. The sweet pleasant fragrance comes with every current of the gentle wind. With every breath I inhale the granny's perfume, the words of a poem, the passion of my youthful lilac nights and the shelter of my grandparents' garden. Every breath exhaled brings forth a sense of warmth, safeness and gratitude. My mornings these days make my heart grow tender. The tiny lilac petals help me recognize the preciousness and fragility of each new minute. It always amazes me when Nature and my mind work together, when I am able to stop and pay attention to nature's simple beauty and allow it to transform my thoughts. These real and essential "daily presentations" teach me to give myself a choice to see the world differently, feel the joy of life and find possibilities in seemingly impossible realms. I do NOT know the answers and techniques to freeing our minds of confusions and leading meaningful lives. But I try every morning to wake up and look for Life, not for its meaning and purpose, but – life, the everyday one, the ordinary one, the one in me. My life. Messy as my morning table. Imperfect as my custard tart. I try every morning to wake up and live it all even when I feel like not leaving the bed. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes not so. Sometimes it is enough, but other times I have to push myself to end the monologue in my head, to awaken for what is out there and to believe in nature's wisdom and life's surprises. To live it all, or in other words, to nourish the soul, I have to simply be, here and now, aware of the moment and focusing the mind on what is nurturing – how to smile at the sun, how to hear in silence, how to feel the hot running water cleaning my body, how to say good morning with love, accept a kind word, laugh genuinely or cry softly, listen without judging, how to care for a child, to thank a stranger, to smell the freshly-cut grass, to notice the lilac... Then my days become sweet as the lilac syrup, fragrant as the lilac sugar because on such mornings, while encountering the life with its "daily presentations", I make the extra effort to "put lilac flowers in them".       

Lilac Syrup 
(makes approximately 500 ml; adapted from the book Cooking With Flowers)


2 cups water
3 cups lilac blossoms
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbs. blueberries (optional, for color)


Place lilac blossoms in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let stand for at least 2 hours or overnight. Over medium heat, bring berries to a simmer along with sugar and lilac water. Cook and stir mixture for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a glass container. Discard berries and lilac solid. Refrigerate for up to 1 month. Use in drink mixes, over sorbets, ice cream and fruit salad. Drink it as a cold drink with a couple of ice cubes.

You can find the recipe for lilac-scented sugar here.  For especially vibrant lilac sugar, grind sugar with lilac flowers in a food processor until pulverized. 1/2 cup flowers per 1 cup sugar.

                               Which "daily presentations" do you enjoy and appreciate these days? 


  1. My daughter returned from
    college yesterday evening,
    just as the lilacs had mostly
    faded away. That morning
    I'd snipped away the last
    and freshest looking one and
    stuck it in a jam jar, then tucked
    it in the fridge until right before
    we headed for the airport. They
    don't have lilacs where she's in
    school, so it was a tiny surprise
    for her to find beside her bed
    that night : ) I inhale the fragrant
    lilac and am five years old, again.
    You've captured that feeling so
    beautifully, as well as my own
    longings to love all the sweet
    details of this life fiercely! As
    a matter of fact, I just posted
    on that very subject, so we are,
    indeed, on the same wavelength!

    Have a beautiful weekend.
    Wishing you many more lilac
    moments to come!

    xo Suzanne

  2. Like Emily Dickenson once said, "...If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. Th[is] is the only way I know it. Is there any other way?” - this is how I feel when I see photos that sing to me. It's as if the top of my head were taken off and I can finally breathe.

    Sylvia, you are a master. I am learning myself how to get the effect I want, the mood I seek to take the top of my head off! It takes so much practice, but the results are stunning.

    I was just speaking to our beloved Irina yesterday, and she mentioned something about NATURE. Your words meld with hers, reminding me that nature is the place I return to when the world gets too muddled with a colorless background. Nature's colors bring me back to where I want to be, and your photos are lush in texture, the texture of these lovely flowers.

    WOW. This is a great way to start my day.

    MUCH LOVE! Anita

  3. Absolutely FABULOUS Lilac photos! Love your site. I remember the Lilacs in my Mom's yard in Idaho. Too warm to raise Lilacs in my zone so I sure miss them.

  4. We have late blooming lilacs here and my husband JUST brought me a little bundle to place in a little vase and enjoy indoors, too. I love lilacs - and never heard of lilac syrup! I have made various sauces and baked with lavender but never lilac. Is it delicious? Your dessert looks incredible, I think I drooled on myself! : - )

  5. Your words really resounded with me. I try so hard to see things...not just look and see, but see deeply and feel. I know I'm not making sense, but I absorbed your words because they describe how I yearn to "live in the moment"...I know that's a bit of a cliché now, but it's something I work at.

    Your pictures are beautiful. I was looking at the lilacs at our nursery the other day. I would love to plant a few. Maybe this is the year.

    The custard looks lovely. Imperfectly perfect.

    Jane x

  6. I adore absolutely everything about this post ~ the wonderful images ... ahh lilac days ~ the Mary Oliver quote (will add that to my quote journal) , and your positive words ♥ bliss

  7. Your photography is so stunning. I've enjoyed perusing your blog and getting lost in your beautiful work. I am your newest follower :)

  8. I love the combination of colours!
    A wonderful modern and vintage combination.
    Lovely hugs

  9. I just found your lovely blog, how wonderful your posts are and how beautiful your photos are. Sweet hugs from BC:)

  10. The lilacs here in northwest Oregon have already bloomed and faded. Their fragrance does pull me back through time to my childhood. Everything about your post was pure loveliness, the photos are a feast for the eyes, and the words are poetry for the soul.

  11. this post was completely dreamy...I LOVE lilacs - we have a large bush on the side of our home and you can often find me there taking in their scent. The idea of using the flavor for a syrup is quite unique and I LOVE it!! Saving this idea for later! Thanks great post!

  12. What a beautiful post-- both the photographs and the words. I grew up with a lilac tree in the backyard and I miss being able to pick armfuls and have them in the house every spring.

  13. GORGEOUS!! Lilacs are a favorite of mine!!

  14. Beautiful images, and such wisdom in the words. Lovely post! I am in Texas and sadly lilacs don't like the extreme heat here. one of my favorite flowers and colors though. Absolutely love your third shot here... the composition and the depth of field.... wonderful!


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