I have begun reading Cleanth Brook’s The Well Wrought Urn and have concluded with much pleasure the chapter on MacBeth. It contains instruction on all of life. How Shakespeare makes of a baby a symbol of the untrammeled consequence (yes, consequence not consequences though it might be that too) of the future opens the eyes at many levels.
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Some of the ash have reached that stage made rare by transience at which they are evenly mingled green and gold. How quickly it goes when it begins, the changing of the leaves. The seedy and despondent look of the elms two days ago is now shown to be the encroaching burgundy left by the retreating chlorophyll.
We go north to see the sight of it. This is no season to be passed all indoors. It is the season when the air is full of leaves; when the earliest of them in places gather with that early fragrance of tea. Autumn is the season of memories because of all the senses, it seems to me, smell is most like memory and Autumn comes with all its various fragrances. I love to smell it.
Inside the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove of cider.
I do remember from sixth grade how surprising when we went to go rake oak leaves in my friend’s grandmother’s yard to find how bad they smelled. It was not exactly unpleasant, just surprisingly bad, after having lain a while to molder in the rain. And yet that was also the year we went in the clear cool to have a picnic, bundled sort of, colder than at other times of my remembering, but wonderfully outside. The smell of that is one of the first things about the fall that I remember: the smell of being in the woods during that early cold. I have never again smelled the smell of those oak leaves, surprisingly, but it is with me and perhaps one day I will again.