Fall is finally here. Not that I’ve been particularly waiting for it, I’m just announcing the confirmation of its arrival. I’ve had leaves falling into my yard since August, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Heck, all my trees could just be dying, but I know they’re not. They’re protesting. Sara and I have been talking for awhile now about cutting down the maple closest to the house, except now someone’s gone and told the whole lot of ’em what we’ve been planning. It was probably the rhododendron. It doesn’t really matter, the rhody’s coming out to make way for a new garden anyway. So nyah.
But now I’ve got a yard full of trees dropping leaves a month early cuz they know I don’t even have a rake to fight back with. I broke the handle to the rake while using it as a shovel, which I had to do because I broke the handle to the shovel using it to break ice, because the ice breaker snapped while I was using it to throw mulch, because I lost the pitchfork in the woods after using it to rake. None of this ever would’ve happened if I hadn’t spent those three years in Georgia. That’s where my inappropriate use of utensils (garden or otherwise) began. Yup. One day you’re drinking out of a mason jar, thinking nothing of it, and the next thing you know you’re eating cereal out of Tupperware and your trees have formed a union and want benefits. Let this be a lesson to you. Learn from my mistakes.
So, leaves on the ground are not an exclusive indication of the arrival of Fall in Western Massachusetts. There’s one good thing that is: the smell. It just smells like Fall. I know that’s a lot like saying “tastes like chicken”, but Fall does have a unique smell. It smells like, well, dead Spring. It’s a cold wind stripped bare after filtering through acres of now skeletal woods. It’s the essence that slips from the flora of the season that we tie to our mailboxes and carve up as flickering beacons for our porches, before it settles to frost the morning ground. Or if you prefer a simplistic analogy: Spring smells like Lysol Citrus Fresh Deodorizing Floor Cleaner. Fall smells like Glade Buttload Of Apples In Some Kind Of Basket. Also, Autumn in the Pioneer Valley is unerringly heralded by the return of the students to the Five Colleges, and they add their own unique bouquet to the fragrance of Fall. Yankee Candle has even made a set of scented candles that captures this aroma. Included in the 6-piece sampler are such notables as Patchouli Patchouli, Clove Explosion, Beer, and Ben Hasn’t Showered In A Week.