I always understand why people have so often felt aware of the presence of the divine in sunlight – on a sunsoaked spring day in Minnesota, when the whole world smells like lilacs, it’s easy to feel bathed in sacredness.

Lilacs bloom late in Minnesota – the rest of the northern US is well into peonies and beyond.

In my twenties, I lived in a sixth floor apartment in DC with a weeping cherry tree that bloomed outside my window. There was nothing more spectacular on earth than that tree in full flower. Early spring in DC is full of blooming trees – not just the cherries, but the dogwoods and magnolias and redbuds – and I used to wish I could hold onto them all.

I even imagined spending a spring chasing blooms – starting in southern Georgia, and making my way up the coast as the blooms did. I would use geography to stretch out early spring.

Now anticipation stretches out my early spring – I wait until June for enough sun and warmth for lilacs and trees in bloom – but when they show up, they show up for us in rich and beautiful abundance.