Lilac Season

There is such hope in spring: new blooms and blossoms sprout, and we even emerge from our hibernation

By Maggie Doherty

It’s what I like to call “lilac season” in Kalispell. It’s one of my favorite but very short-lived seasons in what Montana offers as spring. Spring is typically rushed, hurried, often blends very well with winter or mud season ,but here in Kalispell there is a brief period before summer hits when the lilacs bloom in yards, streets, and my favorite location: the alley ways on both the east and west side residential districts of town. After a long winter of white and gray, the explosion of color, from a dusty lavender to a deep dark purple, to even the crisp white of the blooms that border my property from my neighbors are a sight for color-deprived eyes. Then there’s the smell: the neighborhood where I live is so fragrant that when I walk those six short blocks home from work on Main Street, I think: people pay good money for aroma therapy and I’m getting a session for free.

There is such hope in spring: new blooms and blossoms sprout, and we even emerge from our hibernation of those long winter months. In our neighborhood, not only are the tulips blooming but so are the human inhabitants. This past winter I saw my neighbors with a shovel in hand, and we saluted in our heavy task before us, faces buried in the collars of our heavy parkas. Now that the snow is long gone, the old maple trees have burst their leaves, our neighborhood is wholly alive. People are out on long, meandering walks (usually holding a small bouquet of lilacs to take home and place in a vase) and children’s toys are once again scattered across the grass. We are relishing in the longer daylight hours, which means that for this family, our 2-and-a-half-year-old cannot adhere to a bedtime before a reasonable hour. It’s likely the fault of his parents, but we’re too excited chatting with our neighbors and petting their dogs as they stroll by, or lying on a blanket in the yard, staring up at the clouds and making plans for summer. No one in our house wants to go inside.

Lilac season didn’t just happen in Kalispell. Some incredibly thoughtful people planted those trees long ago, and I especially like how they thought to beautify the alleys. It not only adds beauty and character to our neighborhoods but offers a celebration of spring, and a celebration of community and neighborhoods. We’re on the brink of yet another exciting phase in community development for Kalispell with the CORE area development plan. Once again we’re challenged with creating new ways to strengthening our community like those people did years ago with planting trees. Like spring, it’s a very hopeful and promising time of good things to come.

Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.

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