First breath of autumn

img_0903The leaves quivered with anticipation.  They seemed to know their wait for rain was almost over.  As the breeze grew stronger, the leaves rocked from side to side on their stalks, excitement mounting. Overhead the sky shook with a single, heart-stopping boom, followed by silence.  And then it came.  Slowly at first, each heavy drop thudding onto the canopy, each sound distinct from another.  Drops fell more quickly, while, in the distance a rushing, rustling sound began. The sound intensified as a stampeding torrent of raindrops swept in – drenching, life-giving.  The space beneath the trees was filled with noise as drops collided with leaves overhead, and gradually, the water began to fall to the ground, running from the laden branches in soaking rivulets.

The smell in the wood, after the drought-ending rain, was beautiful; it’s called petrichor.  That this smell has its own name in the Oxford Dictionary is testimony to the status we gave to this natural phenomenon.  It is a smell of renewal, nature, earth.  In the wood, the ground is no longer cracked.  Leaves no longer droop and the badgers are back to digging the ground over.  Fruits are beginning to ripen, and in moisture filled early mornings, as mist drapes the tops of the trees, there is the first hint of autumn’s breath.