Oh! The Smell

September and October ring in a sense of delusion here in New Mexico. The world seems as though it remains in a state of imbalance, swinging wildly out of control. As I type this, hurricane Michael is slowly reaching shore, the temperature in Augusta, Maine is 80 degrees and winter is beginning to settle in the northern rockies. The normal patterns for this time of year (except Maine, that is a bit extreme). The prediction in other places seems quite doable, but here, we get delusional.

Our first mountain snow fell while I was asleep on Monday night. The accompanying rain in our lower elevations lulled me to sleep with a feel of excitement. Rain is scarce, and like a sleeping child waking to see if mother was still there, I awoke to make sure it was still raining. For comfort. I knew from the smell, the crisp, damp freshness culminated into one thing. Snow. No matter rain or snow, the smell remains, the smell of the freeze. Instinct recognizes the smell as a time to end the growing season. It brings us an ancient and primal feeling of excitement, “the work is over”.

It is hard to beat the feeling of the first snow or frost. Waking with a thick flannel and being able to see your breath. Sitting in front of a crackling fire filled with wood cut with your own hand, it is a sigh of relief. A delusion. No matter how much I know that it will warm, I still settle in and get comfortable. It’s only a trick. The sudden, abrupt change is a reminder but not persistent. I know what is coming now, 50 degree temperature swings from morning to afternoon, 70 one day 50 the next, flooding or snow. It is expected and anticipated. For us, fall is a great big prank. For now, I will enjoy my delusion that it already is winter and enjoy a nice warm cup of hot cocoa.

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