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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ghost Lilacs

On the Victoria Day weekend, I was driving by myself on Highway 401 between Belleville and Toronto, which is pretty boring. However, it was lilac season, and I was noticing little clumps of lilacs by themselves, or lines of lilac bushes near the highway. I was also admiring the old lilac trees around the old farmhouses, and thinking about the fact that lilacs are not native to Ontario, and I suddenly wondered if these lonely ones mark where houses had once been. These ghost houses would only be visible during lilac season, otherwise the green bushes would blend in with the bush. I thought it would be an interesting project to map the lilacs, and compare it with old county maps showing settlements and houses and farms. Some would be escaped strays, but probably not most.

I love the idea of mapping. I have always wanted to map the birds nests that are visible in the early spring when the trees are bare, so I can follow the development of the baby birds when the leaves come in. I think it would be a very child-friendly mapping process, too.
I guess mapping outcroppings of lilacs would have to be done with GPS positioning, in order to overlay it properly.

I love the idea of the lilacs being the ghosts of the houses. How tangible, yet intangible. MMMM.

The marigold wonders nervously:
Is there enough time in one life-time to figure out these kinds of questions?
Is this sufficiently interesting to be a thesis in horticulture? Urban studies?
Has someone already thought of it? Will I ever know?
The marigold wanders nervously back to the first question.
I also love thinking up potential theses. Can you tell?

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