I love the fact that in Austria there are four distinct seasons. Over the next few weeks I’ll be publishing creative pieces on the sights, sounds and smells of the four seasons. Having now been through spring, summer and winter, this is the final week – autumn. Enjoy!
It happens so quickly it’s barely noticeable: a chill weaves in between the warmth of the air, and the landscape starts changing – golds and reds flitter in amongst the greens on the nearby mountains, a spectacular sight that almost eclipses other seasons.
Despite sinking temperatures, it is a beautiful kind of cold that replaces the stickiness of summer. The scent of autumn is distinct – the sweet smell of rotting, fermenting apples before the fresh winds that sweep through to clear everything away. It literally snows leaves – large sheathes floating through the air incessantly and covering the ground in a layer of crisp, crunchy carpet.
Farmers clear their fields of wheat and corn and cows are brought down, bells tolling, from high mountains ready for the cooler weather. In the last warm days, households busy themselves outside in preparation for winter – hauling pot plants into cellars and collecting the last, rotting fruit from whence it fell.
The lakes change from teal to a dusky grey, the days shorten. The fog rolls in, gloomy and sullen, an attempt to impede the sun’s joyful piercing. But on a clear day, with the first snow on the peaks, comes an astounding beauty like no other. Layers and blankets are retrieved from storage and pulled tighter around bodies, but the air feels fresher, livelier. The hordes of people gathering for autumn festivals in coats and scarves and gloves crouch around to sweet smell of burning wood.
And with the first frost, you know it’s only a matter of time before winter is upon you.