“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! — George Eliot in a letter, 1 Oct 1841
That line: “Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonise.” I’ve been missing the warmth and dizzying creaturely activity of summer so much I haven’t been properly appreciating autumn and the way it illuminates the pace of mortal time — variously hurrying and drudging, restless and reposeful, and every tempo between. Autumn reminds us: This is all the time we have, these swift cycling seasons, a startling fact that most of us find it easier to ignore, yet in our ears whisper the drifting, sinking leaves ablaze.
Now would be a good time to go outside and breathe deeply the autumn air, redolent of resin, damp earth, musky mint, vanilla and sour apple, and perpetual nostalgia. Yankee Candle probably sells it.
(Well, I checked, and they do sell Autumn Leaves, but not leaf decay — nor perpetual nostalgia — per se. Autumn Leaves includes pomegranate, orange blossom, white pine needles, blackberry, juniper berry, rosemary, birch leaf, red maple leaf, and dried persimmon tree leaves. I suppose there are places where all of these grow at once? Not here. There’s also Autumn Wreath: “green leaf [?], apple; cinnamon, clove, nutmeg; woody notes [?], and vanilla.)
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