• Shana Ritter

Late Fall Morning Walk

This morning the sun was brilliant and while the ground was still soaked with yesterday’s all day rain the clear bright sky beckoned me out for a walk. I went down the driveway and turned in at the gate to my neighbor’s land. A track, wide enough for a pick up, winds down through the woods to a wide field below. The fallen leaves have lost the red and gold and form a thick brown cover everywhere. A few dashes of red. orange and gold still cling on the tops of some tress, but mostly it is bare branches reaching into the azure blue of  sky. Beautiful, but even more than this sigh it is the smell of the day that holds me. That makes me stop and stand and breathe. There is a scent of after rain, the trees and air washed and the cold moved in, that leaves the world smelling anciently new.

There is a name for this; petrichor.  it derives from the Greek and has it’s roots in the words petra for stone, and ichor which is the “blood” of the gods. But that name doesn’t suit here – this landscape is not dry and hard but porous. The woods are full of ferns and plants I cannot name, there is plentiful moss and the ground is soaked green with underground springs in all but the driest of times. But the scent, the day after rain on the first true day of late fall under the bluest sky with trees just tinged in the last of color seems like it should have a name too. Beyond the pause I take to breathe it in. Behind the wonder of how the world can hold so still after the winds and storms that pass. How the stillness in spring is so different for the stillness in autumn and how that same quiet newness brings a joyous hush all through me. Blood and stone? Perhaps it is just awe.


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