by Alexandria Smith
The smell of wet autumn leaves hovering in the air after a rainfall makes me reminisce about my childhood spent walking to school. I enjoyed hearing the crunch of leaves underneath my feet as I walk through grass, dirt paths, or on the sidewalk. The fallen leaves made a sea of gold, green, red, purple that formed some type of swirling carpet that Nature had unfurled for me to stride upon. As a child, I was the barefoot, tree hugging, hippie celebrity, and Mother Nature had honored me by rolling out her “red carpet.”
Wet autumn leaves let me know it was time to don boots and hooded jackets with zippers and kangaroo pockets. I remember having to button up my first cardigan sweater, a deep red colored garment, with big round buttons to close it together. I used to hate having to wear so many layers of clothing, but since I was born 2 months and 2 weeks early, my mother feared that I would easily get sick, so I had to comply.
I loved the smell of the underlying hint of decay, hidden between the freshness of the mist left behind an autumn rainfall. I knew that at some point those wet leaves on the ground would soon melt into one another. Golds would bend with reds and bluish purples, and then wither away into the moist and waiting earth. Autumn brought me this sense of anxiousness for what was about to happen next. It made sense to me, because with fall came the beginning of the school year, new teachers, and a reunion between classmates. Wet autumn leaves were specimens to be studied, picked up, cleaned and dried off, and placed between wax paper to be turned into handmade bookmarks or place mats.
Trees were the ultimate keepers of time. They seemed to eternally sprout buds and blooms, which would burst into bright green leaves, and eventually take a metamorphosis into a cacophony of color. The ragtag menagerie of shed leaves would create a symphony of crunches, crinkles, and evoke sweet oohs over their beauty.