As I was leaving the office the other evening I caught a whiff of it. It isn't something at all definable, and it is so very, very ephemeral; but there is no mistaking it once you've learned what it means. It's the smell of Fall.
In writing letters to our Compassion children, I find myself regularly trying to describe things that they never have seen. Snow and fall foliage are first among them. Trying to describe walking on ice to a child who considers 70 degrees a chilly day? Not a simple thing, and it's easier to describe what we see than what we smell.
Smell is embedded in our memories in a special way. One cannot describe the smell of skunk, but has no need to do so to one who has already made its acquaintance.
As soon as I said it, all of you who know the smell smelled it in your heads. It's the forewarning of frost on a warm, clear evening; a foretaste of fallen leaves while surrounded by green; and some yet-to-be-put-into-words breath of the shortening days.
The next morning I pulled out a sweater. There is no point in arguing that fall didn't really start until today.