There’s a certain scent in the air today. It’s something I associate with the age of ten or eleven, when I lived in a big house in the Connecticut woods and spent most of my time outside exploring. At the time I had a fascination with hunting, the army, the woods, and survival in the elements, so I built forts and bunkers and tree stands with my buddies, who shared the same interests I did (and who also lived on multi-acre plots of land like us.)

We’d stay out in the woods until the sun got low and filtered through the low-hanging leaves, and the temperature would drop, bringing out a particular earthy fragrance from the forest floor: The rich, loamy smell of leaves, heated and cooled, mixed with rich, moist earth, and a touch of fresh-cut grass, signalling the shortening days and cooler nights of fall just around the corner. It usually meant we were wearing jackets and jeans instead of shorts, school was back in session (so we were ducking schoolwork as long as we could) and we stayed out of the wetlands so we wouldn’t freeze as the sun went down.

Around the time dusk fell and we smelled woodsmoke through the trees, which meant that parents were home and settling in for the evening, we’d gather up our gear and say our goodbyes, then scatter our separate ways on well-worn paths through the forest. Days like this make me think of that brief, magical time of my life when afternoons lasted forever, Intellivision was my religion, Duran Duran were the biggest thing on the radio, my three best friends lived within walking distance, and the world was ours to explore.

Date posted: September 14, 2007 | Filed under history | Comments Off on The Smell of Change

Comments are closed.