I walked out onto the porch after work, emerging from a lemon-scented clorox cloud, and the air smelled, for the very very first time, like fall. I just noted yesterday that the air smelled fresh; it felt a bit chilly; but it didn’t have that kick in the undertone that makes your lungs feel cleansed. The temperature was the same today; but that little whisper of winter was there, just in the way that it smelled. I just let it fill my lungs as I headed home.
My dad did a study once in grad school that concluded that smell is not nearly so significant a trigger of memory as many would like to think. But maybe it just triggers memory in a special way. I’d like to think that a smell triggers an emotional memory. That when you smell something, you remember feelings attached to that smell, and vague related pleasant images, rather than the event. For hours after I stepped into the fall wind, everything felt different. My lamps felt warm instead of dim; making dinner late felt homey instead of frantic; my apartment felt like home.
In a few short hours, it will be October. October is my favorite month. Some of the very best times of my life have been in October; and some of the very worst times of my life have been in October. It’s a time for strong emotion, for the deep things and for extremes. Everything in October comes with a bite. It’s a time for hot ovens and cold nights, for loving intensely, for falling apart, for filling foods, crunchy leaves and for going home.