It's lilac time here in Anchorage. In yards all over the city, the bushes we ordinarily never notice are covered in floral plumes, diffusing their distinctive sweet scent that even smells purple. Lilacs spend fifty weeks a year as an ugly duckling, tall, scraggly, and awkward. It's a little like those old movies where the girl wears ugly glasses, baggy clothes, and pulls her hair back into a tight bun. But then one day Carey Grant removes her glasses, and says she has beautiful eyes. That's the budding phase of the lilac.
Then in the next scene, dressed for the ball, she's breathtakingly beautiful, sweeping the hero off his feet. And somewhere along the way, she gains confidence and grace and you know she'll never again be that ugly duckling. Now she's a graceful swan.
And that's were the similarity ends. Lilacs live a long, long time, but they don't live happily ever after. Once they finish out their blooming cycle, they revert to the background, with twiggy branches, uninteresting foliage, and a tendency to sprout suckers. But once a year in early June, lilacs will once again be the belle of the ball.