We cling to traditions for comfort. Whether they are rituals and routines at home, annual trips, or even objects we put out at certain times of year to remind us of something, or someone.
On these pages, there are a few traditions as well. You can almost set your clock to the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Town Meeting Day messages from our editorial board.
But one tradition stands out for us, and it has lasted for generations now. Readers have grown up with the editorial below, aptly titled “Lilac time.” As you will see, around this week — and in this case, on this day — we celebrate the natural beauty of spring that graces so many of our yards, parks and streetscapes.
It would not be spring without this timeless ode. We are pleased to keep this tradition going for another year.
Reprinted from the Rutland Herald of May 29, 1929:
Now is the brief season of the lilac bush, modest and enduring symbol of the depth and permanence of New England traditions.
It has given a name to color, perfume, poems, songs, story. Translated into many languages, its name is upon the lips of millions in many lands. Yet it remains unspoiled by such widespread fame.
It is still the sturdy, wholesome dooryard emblem of the New England home. With what eager anticipation has it been planted at the threshold of new, bravely begun homes.
With what poignant grief has it been left behind for long bitter migrations from whose hardship and loneliness homesick thoughts have turned in anguished longing.
To what strange and distant homes have its roots been transplanted, there to grow blossoms and, in turn, be abandoned again. On this very day in mountain pastures and along deserted roads, over the graves of dead homes bloom the lilac bushes planted by the founders of those pioneer households.
Many of those graves would be otherwise indistinguishable, their timbers long since buried, their cellar holes filled in and grassed over. Were it not for the steadfast lilac bush, there would be nothing to mark that here once dwelt human souls who shared happiness, sorrow, hope and despair.
Who lived there, whither they went or what their adventures nobody knows. No descendants make annual pilgrimages to remember and decorate these forgotten graves of the homes of ancestors.
But each year at this season, the lonely, faithful lilac bush blooms again and lavishes its sweetness in memory of the hands that planted it.