"Yesterday evening as it was getting dark, I walked the path past a large sugar maple tree that had shed its leaves. It was drizzling very lightly, and I could hear the tiny patter of small raindrops. But as I passed the maple, I smelled that peculiar smell of autumn—just a quick whiff. I stopped to catch more scent and my mind flashed back to 43 years ago as I saw myself following my father on a dark evening. It was cool and damp then, and the leaves undoubtedly had given off that same aroma…At first it seemed that something had been lost, never to return. The thought touched me with a tinge of sadness, at the same time that the scent touched me with happiness. Yet, thoughts create feelings, and I then had another thought that made me feel better. The maple tree behind me is 99 percent dead. Its only living tissue is a thin layer of cambium just underneath the bark. Each year the cells of the cambium divide, and those that align themselves toward the inside of the tree die and become wood, its support. The autumn scent had given me access to the deepest growth rings of my life, which served a vital function—support for new experiences and new growth."
Bernd Heinrich—A Year in the Maine Woods