I quickmarched to the bookstore today, against my wallet’s better judgment, in order to pick up a couple books for review at Cinescape.

It is a crisp, clear, sunny day; the afternoon sun shining brightly on autumn-scented air. The bright leaves of fall crumble beneath the feet of my neighborhood, and the trees – all of the trees, with the exception of our evergreens, naturally – are clad in full and brightly colored robes.

This is almost disturbingly anomalous. Fall in Puget Sound is overcast and drizzly, with rainstorms at predictable times of day.

Just before sunset, the sun breaks out from underneath the cloud deck to dazzingly illuminate the city with golden light so strong and yellow it defies belief. Increasing the contrast, this is uniformly preceded by a half-hour of rain.

Likewise, just before dawn, rains sweep through the city. It’s been this way every year here since I arrived for about three months, from October through December, and there are certain consequences.

The rain knocks the leaves from the trees. The overcast dampens people’s mood, somewhat. The light show in the half-hour before sunset is like a great shout of laughter. The air is perfectly clean, without a hint of pollution, also due to the twice-daily rain.

This year, the air smells of a city and of burning leaves. The trees and the sidewalks carry the leaves, and the leaves on the ground retain their brittleness long enough to crunch and crumble underfoot.

It’s pleasant, because the ambience is that of the falls of my youth in Southern Indiana. It’s disturbing because it certainly means that the drought will adversely affect everything from municipal water stores, to, yet again, my freakin’ electricity bill (I turn my head, mutter “fuckin’ Enron pigs,” and spit).

I lived here for six years before I realized that spring here smells like flowers, not chlorophyll. I know what the damp smell of autumn is here, and what I smell this year ain’t it.