Fragrance Quote for November 6th, 2012-The scent of Autumn Leaves Alight-The Independent, Volume 80



Autumn Leaves
Then the burning. Then the fire. Why do we pretend to have forgotten what the Parsee knows? We are all fire worshipers in the inmost heart of us. With fire we warm us; with fire we cook our food; with fire we drive our engines, turn our wheels of industry, mold intractable materials to our users; with fire we soothe our nerves, kindle our imaginations, cheer our hearts. Fire worshippers? An we are not, we are false to the chief god of the household hearth.
A spitting match—alas that we are too sophisticated to strike flint on steel, too civilized to rub wood on wood —is thrust deep into the leafy pile. A moment—it is out. We have smothered it. But no. A thin gray thread steals out and climbs curling and twisting. It thickens, spreads out, broadens. A woolly mass of smoke wells up thru the pile and whitens the air above it. A darting tongue of crimson flashes in the cloud, the flame bursts forth, the pile is alight. The rake slackens idle in the hand as we watch the mounting billows, as we breathe in the haunting fragrance. Smoke, wood smoke, leaf smoke, white smoke, is good to look upon. Smoke, vegetation smoke, nature's smoke, pungent smoke, is good to smell. Ruddy with the flame it glows. White in the air it drifts and rolls. Spicy in the nostrils it vivifies and quickens.
There was. a poet once who wrote,
The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year.
Melancholy indeed! Saddest forsooth! What manner of poet man was he? Had he never raked leaves and burnt them? Had he never piled an altar to the year that was passing? Never burnt his incense to the new-risen year that was to come?
on burning leaves-
The Independent, Volume 80