The first weekend of fall found us at our beloved Loyd Park, weathering storms, high humidity, and heavy downpours.
We love this time of year, when, as the poet Humbert Wolfe said so beautifully, “the air is wild with leaves.”
Autumn has a certain scent, thanks to abscission (from the Latin ab, meaning “away,” and scindere, meaning “to cut”), and petrichor (from the Greek petra, meaning “stone,” and ichor, meaning the fluid that flows through the veins of the gods). Abscission is the shedding of various parts of an organism, such as a plant dropping a leaf, fruit, flower, or seed. Petrichor is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.
Strolling through Loyd Park, we experienced both of these, as we breathed in the musky aroma of wet leaves and the earthy scent of packed undergrowth. The muted light from overcast skies gave a soft, dusty appearance to the foliage, making it seem as though we were camped in a primeval forest. The effect was enchanting!
We spent the weekend investigating our ancestry. Jon learned that his ancestors not only helped settle what is now the state of Maryland, but also were slaveholders. These discoveries were bittersweet, for they produced a sense of pride and shame. If you go searching through the family closet, you’d best be prepared to find just about anything in it.