October 9, 2014

A Walk in the Woods: The Scent of Autumn

Each season has its olfactory delights––spring and summer with the wafting scents of flowers, winter with its crisp clean smell––but one of the most delicious is in the woods in autumn.

Not only are woodland paths beautiful with their multi-hued carpets of leaves....

....the scent in the air is spicy-sweet, a smell particular to fall. You can sniff, sniff, sniff, trying to place the smell, as though you are in an exotic spice shop, but it is just the smell of the fall woods. I assume it comes from the decaying leaves that cover the ground, and what a delightful outcome from decay. I so wish there was a way to share smells, like there are images and sounds; maybe some day we'll be able to do that, a scratch and sniff for the computer. 

As I walk the path, I have the visual beauty of colored leaves above and below, the amazing aroma, and the sound of my feet brushing through the drying leaves; that sound reminds me of a childhood delight: crashing through large piles of fallen leaves in Brooklyn, scattering them, tossing them, a raucous celebration of the season.

My fall fancies are now quieter, but just as appreciative. The color is fleeting; the paths will soon be dun. The special scent of this season's woods will become a memory, as the cold and quiet of winter begins to set in.


  1. I really enjoyed this poetic post with these marvelous pictures. Thank you!

  2. Yes, scents are difficult to capture, and so evocative. Thanks for letting us join your walk!

  3. Yes, we tend to forget these sensory qualities but the scents and sounds so evocative! Your post brought it all back for this urban dweller. Great vertical photo of majestic trees.

  4. Thanks so much for the kind comments. I really enjoy sharing my experiences and it's nice that they're appreciated.

  5. Do you have witch hazels growing nearby? They are the only tree which blooms this time of year, and the subtle scent is a major constituent of the Appalachian intoxicant we enjoy in south-central Pennsylvania.

    1. I don't think I've seen it around here, JBS, though I looked it up and it should be hardy up here in zone 4.