Saturday, 20 September 2008

Autumn Smells

It does. You meander through the summer, rain or shine, mostly rain this year and then one day you go outside and you know the season has turned because the Goddess of the Autumn life death cycle has a very particular perfume.

Keats nearly captured it and placed its essence on a page. The mellow sun appeals far more then the harsh hard heat of a hot summer. (Unless I have a pool or the sea nearby or a trees or all 4 and a horse. If all these conditions are met with a good book, access to the radio - when I want it, then, then I will be very happy).

There isn't the fresh snap to the air of later yet, your breath may make streaks in the air, but they are gentle streaks that disperse willingly and gently.

But the smell is musty and piquant. The sound of foot on ground changes, as the decay starts to dance to a different tempo and the fruit swells and drops on the ground to be harvested by creatures making the most of the sugary harvest, drunk on their last days.

If I live to old age I wonder if Autumn will always be captured completely in one memory of repeated days.

Walking through the front door, school bag in one hand, violin case in another, coat slung round me somehow. I was resentful of their heavy companionship, hungry for milk and biscuits. I spect the door slammed, the 30 second early warming system for those within -not through temper just eagerness to get on. Drop the encumbrances I have just carted a couple of miles and gather speed as I walk down the corridor to the back of the house trying hard to ignore the presence of a silent and waiting piano.

Even if the breakfast room door is shut, I will know what activities are taking place. There will be damp warmth emanating from the kitchen. Steam and smells and the sounds of activity. Bubbling, water splashing, metal against pan, wooden spoon resting after testing for viscosity.

Depending on the produce it will be Chutney, or Jam, or Wine.. As I get into the kitchen I will be greeted by some acerbic but welcoming comment and maybe hear some light profanities and dark mutterings, probably, not aimed at me. The dog's wet nose will insist I stop and greet her, as she is welcoming me. A cat may deign to open an eye before receding into a snooze by the fire, punctuated by the occasional thoughtful flick of the tail.

A bonus might be all that and some baking too, so the spices used will give me a clue. Ever the Sorceress the mixtures may change depending on whim and availability, creativity unleashed through necessity.

Warmth with subtlety, sarcasm and strength, applies equally to Autumn and Jam , Wine and Chutney. And My Mother.

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