If you notice and love the scents of November, then this week’s post is for you.

If you enjoy the idea of slowing down and enjoying the process of fall sliding into winter, then this week’s post is for you.

October is grand with its colors and pumpkin spice everything for those who enjoy pumpkin spice everything. Still, for me, November is tops for filling noses with smells of curling chimney smoke, decaying matter, and things baking in ovens.

I love the smell of decaying leaves and other vegetation. Google “decaying leaves,” and one will find many scientific reasons why leaves decompose and explanations for their particular smell. I prefer to take a broader view and allow the musty, still sweet aromas where wet earth and brown and yellow leaves meet to settle into my senses freely, gently, and comfortably.

In late November’s autumn, my feet tread more quietly on the damp forest floor, as if in respect of the passage of time and the continuing cycle of life and death. Amber hues of now fallen leaves and brown blades of grass against a backdrop of Maine’s pine and fir trees set the stage for the delicious scent of smoke wafting from the occasional chimney. My head tips upward, moving side to side, as my nose tries to ferret out each smell and store them for winter. My time here is magical. As I shiver and pull my coat closer, the autumnal deepening shadows remind me it is time to think about winter’s approach.

It’s time to pull out the quilts and comforters,

jasmine and sandalwood,

and prepare for candlelit evenings with good books and fires in the fireplace.

The flannel shirts in the back of the closet move up to the front. Presently in storage crates, colorful sweaters, long scarves, and insulated gloves await removal. Soon I will layer them over shirts and pants, but just for a moment, I will first bury my face into the scrumptiousness of their soft wools, alpaca fibers, and cotton blends. I’ll inhale deeply the memories of last fall’s adventures and misadventures. 

But wait! Inside my blessed home, there are different November scents as I pull nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice out of the kitchen cupboards. What shall I make? Muffins? A spice cake? Molasses cookies? I dream of crisp apple strudels and bourbon pecan pies.

I’ll soon move the front step pumpkins from outside to inside and commence cutting, gutting, chunking, and peeling, readying each for as a yet to be considered harvest-time culinary Thanksgiving dishing, another November treat reminding us to slow and be grateful.

What November musing is complete unless mentioning the charming aroma of hot apple cider, warm spiced wines, coffee shenanigans, and sugary spiced donut holes?

November stirs my imagination like no other season. It’s a season all to itself. The calming reminder that death happens, pausing is a good thing, and the time of renewal is already in place.