Tuesday, October 30, 2012

storm smells

(last night, in my neighborhood)
Nosy readers, I hope you are safe, dry, and warm. Last night my quiet Cambridge neighborhood smelled of burning leaves on every block, the burning-leaf smell carried even on wet leaves in the strong winds, so much like late-autumn backyard bonfires that it was a genuine surprise to have the smoking chimneys pointed out to me, of course no maniacs were burning their yard waste during a weather event, rather, they had their fireplaces going for maybe the first time this year. My friend Carla remarked on Facebook at how beautiful the storm smells were from where she stood: "The stormy air in Boston smells fantastic. Scent mixture of ocean, autumn leaves, and damp earth." (Scientists have names for some of those beautiful storm smells: ozone, petrichor, and geosmin.) Even here, where my own stroll around the neighborhood was decidedly low-risk, I wrestled with the urge to tell anyone I saw to Get inside! and had a stronger version of this reaction to the live photo-tours of New York I was privy to via Instagram and Twitter. But I also understand the need to go outside and see, to feel in the whip of high winds just how vulnerable we all are, always, to breathe that in and call it beautiful, knowing how lucky we are for the chance.

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