Fragrant Quote for October 14th, 2012-Wild Fragrance of Fallen Foliage By Charles Goodrich Whiting



A late Autumn Day
The forest bloom has departed, the birds have flown, the squirrels and the boys are a-nutting; on the roadsides few flowers besides the asters linger and the long sprays of the wreath goldenrod, the humbler members of the sunflower kindred and the late gentians; in the fields appear those second blossoms that spring from the mowed down golden-rods, ox-eye daisies and black-eyed Susans. Down the forest aisles streams the unique magnetic fragrance of the witch hazel, which only of all fragrances could harmonize with the sacred sweetness of the autumn woodland. A familiar of the flowers knows that a month hence he shall find these and a score of flowers besides, in places that he knows of, but to the general eye the gay children of Nature have departed, and winter seems waiting around the corner to close the door.
Still the charm of the fall air softens the omens of departure. The wild fragrance of the fallen foliage rises like an oblation to the generous genius of Nature, and thrills the sense with kinship of all that lives which now and again fills the heart of Nature's lover, as he reclines on the bare rocks of the mountain peak, and beholds the varied earth,—the wild wood, the clearing, the reaped grain-field, the meadow with its sweet rowen, the bare brown earth reft of its roots or tubers, the corn-stalks like to tented camps and the piles of sunny pumpkins among them; the abandoned summer pastures, the cattle feeding in the mowings; the orchards with their heaps of green, ruddy or yellow apples—some for the market, some for the home, much for the cider mill; the tobacco fields with their scattered little sprouts since the harvest; the onion fields with their rows of bulbs pulled and deployed along the lines of their original ranks,—and whatsoever other truck of the husbandman is visible in the fertile valley beneath his eyes....
Through all this pomp of regal bloom insinuates and permeates and controls the mysterious beauty and enchantment of Nature's slumber charm, whose very essence is the attractive, elusive, withdrawing, sacred scent of the witch hazel. This strange bush, that flowers in the fall and fruits in the spring, is as individual in its flower as in its habit, and both so strange. Now the pale gold fringes release themselves slowly from the close fitting wraps that summer has wrought around the buds, —buds that afford no hint of the weird wraiths of bloom they hold. Before yet their delicate petals disentangle themselves, they bestow their mystic fragrance on the forest depths. It is like a loving benediction of God to the wanderer of the woods,—a tender farewell from the secret soul of Nature.