Posted by: morrowsl | September 13, 2014

Memory foam.

Overnight the air has changed and become, finally, something I can move around in without thinking first if I’ve remembered deodorant or how many times I may need to shower over the weekend. It’s not that I’m a sissy about sweating. I just prefer not to be soaked to the skin an hour after I dress unless I’m doing something worth sweating for.

Just before I opened my eyes this morning, as my senses came to life and I began to register what I was feeling and hearing (muffled barking, thanks to the earplugs), my nose picked up something I suppose I had forgotten but now recalled most vividly. Cool, damp air has a smell. It’s not a woods smell, nor yet the smell of water or earth. It is its own odor that is a combination of all of those organic things and something more I just can’t quite grasp.
My first thought after this was of Ashland, Wisconsin and waking there on a crisp fall morning with the trees all ablaze and the sky close and heavy.

Ashland smells like Fall. I never really gave it much thought until this morning. But the smell of fall conjures memories of Ashland and my limited time there. The memories come in russet and ochre and evergreen. Giant ore dock arm jutting into the lake brings a musty smell mixed with just a hint of rotting fish. Memories of Lake Superior bring the smell of planked white fish in the Chequamegon Hotel dining room with the sounds of other diners and a bell buoy dinging just outside the open window. Thoughts of open windows lead to memories of hiking along falling water filled with tannins from the evergreens and conjure the sweet tang of tar.

I don’t know when I first decided that Fall is my favorite season. I’m sure as a kid helling it all over my little North Texas hometown, I hated Fall because it meant the return of school and being confined inside the four walls of a classroom.
But somewhere along the path I’ve taken, I became aware of a kinship with brooding skies and chilly wind and earthy odors.

It suits me well. I close my eyes and revisit Ashland. And memories of hot winds and damp clothes give way to chill bumps.



  1. God, you’re right — it does have a scent. I have a complicated relationship with this season. I love it, I mean how could I not? There’s so much for the senses…but it’s the gateway to the most trying time of year here in Indiana. But that’s okay. It completes things. Nothing is ever one thing.

    Sounds like it’s time for me to spend some time in Wisconsin.

    • Jen, I think you would love Wisconsin. The areas along the lake shore and up in the North Woods is just your cuppa. Then there’s the diversity of Milwaukee with everything you could want well within walking distance. Can’t speak for any of the other cities, but there are miles and miles of woods, as well as those little islands dotting the shoreline.
      I’d love to spend more time there.
      I can’t like summer, at least not summer in Texas. Maybe if I lived away from the city, there’d be a redeeming grace. But, as it is, I can find nothing about it that makes me the least happy. Except that it does end!!

  2. Perfect descriptions, as always! And since we never have much of a spring here anymore, I think I agree with your choice of a favorite season. You’ve made me long for the color-changing of the leaves! Soon…

    • Thanks, Elle. I woke to the smell and so many wonderful memories!! I could just almost feel the damp and cold, just almost feel the air.
      Now we’re back to hot and the air smells and feels like central air refrigerant. Any tree with a yellow leaf is suspect!! I worry fall will never come at all now.

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