Autumn in the forest house always meant a fire in the outdoors. My brother would light an old dry stump on fire and stand back and watch as the fungi made pretty fireworks and creeping smoke. The smoke would creep, creep, creep through the forest path, straight ahead. Sometimes, I would follow behind and within, breathing the ancient smell, and wiping my eyes.
Now the smoke is in the sky. Our forest house is small and sold. We have it in our hearts, but the forest is buildings and gum on the ground. I go into bookstores and old shops, searching for that ancient smell. Books and trees are cousins, I think.
photo by Lyndsay Buchanan.