The first hint of autumn is a breeze that is definitely a few degrees cooler than the one felt the day before, or the day before that. That is what is meant by a hint of autumn in the air. Yet that reallization brings with it no distinct odor, but just wait until you take that walk in the woods. It is thre that you’ll really smell the odors of fall.
Autumn will assert itself by its own pungent woodsy odors of cinnamon, and of spices, left overs from that first pumpkin pie, but there’s more. The air is heavy with the aroma of the first beginnings of decay. It is not a bad odor but is woodsy and is reminiscence of a little too much to be refreshing, and too delightful to be annoying. The smells of autumn hints at the odor of wet dogs, but being outside it is not as pronounced an odor, and is accepted as part of nature ways and means.
When one thinks of Autumn one thinks of poets trying to put into words the smells and the slightly heavy feelings of a season that is a precursor to winter. They might attempt to do this by comparing an ailing member of the family as autumn, as opposed to younger members being spring and youth. The budding artist, in the first thoughts of pain and sorrow, may wax poetic about life in its last decade and compare this sadness, this odor of death, to October.
At the other end of the generational pole, a seasoned old timer, might look back at his own life and compare his green years as longings the odor of which was of more of unwashed bodies than life turning off its valves. Each sees and smells the heavenly landscape clearer with each autumn, but none more clearer than the one ready to pull up the quilt and settle in for a long winter nap. The odor of the wood stove all the while drifting by and giving comfort.
Trees in spring are filled with sap and their characteristic sweet odors, but in winter when the air is filled with what might have been, and the first smells of winter with its brisk way of cutting through the rotting going on all around, there is seldom time to stop and figure it all out. All settle in for the smell of pumpkin pie with their spices chasing away the hints of mold and other dampness, apple cider with its taste as well as its aroma that says age is a matter of time, and the knowledge that the best is usually the oldest.
It is not by accident that the most twisted and worn tree with its sparse branches are often the most prized piece of driftwood. Once, of course, the little varmints and the loud odor of decay has been varnished away. Life in its various forms uses all its senses to alert others to which stage of life is on. And often, it is the intermingling of the senses, and of all, that give the seasons their distinctive odors.
Winter is less smelly than say autumn, since the stench of dead bodies has been locked away in the freezer, But spring with its outbursts of re-awakenings and new starts perfumes the air and intoxicates humanity. Summer is mushy and spells of ripening’s and exuberance and over kills, and then fall drifts in and mixes it all up once again. The olfactory machine is ever at work producing an appropriate nudge to the senses, but never is it busier than in autumn.