mjj (flemmings) wrote,

I like cherry blossoms and plum blossoms and their delicate haunting fragrance (latter more than former) and I'm sorry when they fall early or when there's not enough of them. But it's almost a cerebral attachment: aesthetics and culture, most of it, and nostalgia for a (recentish) past that dates only to early middle age.

Autumn leaves are different. The yellow carpet in streets and on sidewalks from those what-the-hell *are* they that grow all over Toronto (there's a picture here but no name, of course); the smell of unlikely red maple leaves awash under certain early-turning, early-falling and hence diseased specimens; the patchwork of decorator-colour leaves- dark forest green, goldy-yellow, and purple-burgundy- that one sees frieze-like about the neighbourhood: those bring a transcendent, visceral, and unreasoning happiness rooted too far back in childhood for me to remember how it started, or what glorious thing happened or was promised to happen on a brave yellow and blue October afternoon when I was no more than seven. The gestalt of childhood Christmases has faded, but every autumn on at least a few days I have something that feels very close to it: a marvelous sense of something wonderful in the process of happening, bringing with it the purest form of happiness.

(The smell of zinnias does it too, but I can actually trace zinnias to their source: an art class in our tiny convent school one Friday afternoon, being taught how to draw those very orderly flowers, and how satisfying that was.)
Tags: rl

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