My reading has progressed to the part where the Marcel's family takes walks to Swann's Way or the Meseglise Way. He experiences the hawthorns and sees Gilberte, Swann's daughter by Odette. Odette is entertaining Charlus while Swann is away. The description of the hawthorns just blew me away. After I read Proust, my writing seems to me so stale, so ordinary, so lacking in descriptive power that I want to tear my hair and rip my clothes. Well, something like that.
If memory serves, I looked into planting some hawthornes on our property outside of Chicago at one point. Probably when I was reading Proust. We planted lilacs that sulked in the shade for years, refusing to bloom. In Wellesley, we planted a lilac in (mostly) sun on Lilac Circle (one absolutely must have a lilac on Lilac Circle) , and it bloomed all right, but not prodigiously. Ordinary purple flowers, but properly fragrant. I would just love to have vases abloom with lilacs in every room in the spring and have a fragrance that seeps into one's brain. Now we sneak down the street at night and pick a few of the neighbors. I am so bad.
I think the Lilac Circle house was cursed after we left. The new owners (2nd new owners) took down a huge beautiful red maple that only needed trimming. Something about bad Feng Shui. I guess Proust would have understood about that. There was a huge interest in all things from Japan. Is Feng Shui only a Chinese concept? Maybe I can ask.com.
Always wondering about these things.