Autumn looks like gold, red and brown leaves. It tastes like crisp apples and popcorn. It feels like backyard football games. It sounds like a dragged rake and lingering lawn mowers. It smells like the backyard burning of the remnants of summer. There is perhaps no season that appeals to so many senses as autumn.
Autumn looks like gold, red and brown leaves. It tastes like crisp apples and popcorn. It feels like backyard football games. It sounds like a dragged rake and lingering lawn mowers. It smells like the backyard burning of the remnants of summer.
There is perhaps no season that appeals to so many senses as autumn. Oh, you get the crunch of snow beneath your feet in winter, or the smell of new growth in spring, and the feel of hot temperatures when summer arrives.
But fall offers an abundance of sights, sounds and smells that often are good to touch and taste. We can get sensory overload. Sometimes we don’t know how to make sense of it all.
I’ll admit that if there are leaves being burned, they must have been set on fire in my memory quite a few years ago. There are laws against enjoying the season by incinerating it these days. Nobody writes poems about the scent of autumn fires that send up smoke somewhere in the neighborhood and allow it to drift over houses until it reaches someone who has so little to do he can wax poetic about it. The person who built the fire would have been arrested — and maybe even the poet, as an accomplice — long before the rest of us got a chance to read those rhymes.
No, the seeds for the sensory memory garden into which I have wandered were planted decades ago. This smoke I recollected has had to drift 50 years across three states. But the odor of burning leaves has reached my nose and pleased it.
I still can feel the chill in the air over western New York as my brothers and I raked those leaves that blew into our backyard from the trees in the vacant lot next door. I can smell the mixture of torn grass and disturbed soil produced by the rake’s passes, then feel the dampness of the ground during a football game played after the yard was cleared. And I can hear my mother’s words — see her smile — when we came inside wearing grass-stained mud-covered clothes.
“You guys leave any yard out there?”
We were not to sit on the couch until changing, she added, so I can see us sprawling out instead on the living room rug.
“Down in front,” I can hear my dad ordering the last of us who stood in his view of the TV, following the order with, “Get yourselves an apple. It’ll cut down on doctors’ bills.”
I can taste the sweetness of that fruit, and feel its crispness with each memory of a bite. I can taste the saltiness of the popcorn that was added to the fall feast, and I can feel its melted butter on my fingers.
Now I can hear the sounds of a football game aired on television and see its muted black-and-white images. I can feel the elbow and shoulder of one of my brothers pushing at my side because — so I hear, anyway — I was occupying his spot.
It is only one autumn afternoon. There are many — more than I could possibly remember, or even have time to relive if I could recall them. So, as each summer turns to fall, I allow just a few to randomly come back to me.
They wake my senses with their vividness. This is appropriate. Autumn is a season when our senses should be on alert.
Gary Brown writes for the Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at email@example.com