There’s no better time than autumn to get outside and smell the leaves. Slow down, take a moment, and renew your connection with the natural world. With its unmistakable earthy aroma, fall offers us a chance to renew and recharge.
The careful observer will find pleasure in the details; the delicate remains of the tooth-edged brown oak, the bright red and orange maple, and the heart-shaped linden. Afloat on the fragrant air, these simple shapes sail from bared branches and dance behind cars, spinning themselves into a crazy quilt of autumn-hued color. Take a moment to enjoy their crackling beneath your feet. You will be rewarded as the leaves send their savory aromas wafting in the air; aromas of orange and spice and the indescribable burnt odor of their baking in the dying autumn sun.
What is it about rotting leaves that conjures up our deepest memories? How can one whiff of a decaying oak stir our reflection, catapulting us back to the giant leaf piles of our youth?
The secret lies not only in fall’s colorful leaves, but in something far less tangible — its smell. Returning each year to our noses without fail, the leaves’ earthy aromas open pathways to memory. More inscrutable than simply seeing and hearing, these smells, by their very nature, evoke experience. This deep-seated awareness, untouched by human language, remains dormant in all of us. Autumn’s falling leaves can bring it out.
Fall gives us the opportunity to reconnect with our innermost selves, to look back and to reflect. In their simple beauty, autumn leaves are a gentle reminder to live life to its fullest. Through the memories they evoke, the smells of autumn remind us of our whole self, our own particular story and our deep connection with the earth. In these ways nature provides us with gentle reminders of life’s beauty in the never ceasing cycle of its seasons.