burning in the air. As a child I associated the scent with snow -- whenever the ground was white, there was invariably the smell of hearth fire and burning leaves on the wind. Such a warm smell for such an icy environment, it was universally surprising. I was so excited when I smelled it for the first time each year, I always had to tell someone, "Smell the air? That means it's going to snow soon!"

unexpected temperatures. Lower fifties on the brightest, clearest, sunniest day you've ever seen, upper seventies in the darkest midday thunderstorm; looking out the window is no longer the best way to choose the day's clothing. The jacket you require for frosty morning will be oppressively hot by afternoon. Buildings can't keep up with the temperature either, when the air is still on being indoors always calls for a sweater, and after the heating starts up you can't avoid a few sickeningly hot days.

leaves. Dancing over the ground weightlessly, coating each patch of grass, accumulating in drifts against anything solid. Softer and less dangerous than rain, snow, or ice. Soft because they aren't a product of pure stochastic nature, but of life, the layer that built itself above those forces. Except ... they may only begin to move (off the trees, across the ground) because life has been taken from them by another of natures forces, gravity, distancing them from the sun.

coffee. Hot and rich, a drink that can only be truly appreciated in the fall, in a dark coffeehouse in the night in the rain. Warming your body and waking your mind from the slowness of a temporarily grey world.

the wind. Blowing and gusting, never still, never silent. Causing random hissing, whooshing, whistling in every rooms with windows, in every car, every place of shelter. It persistently tries to blow you over, knock you off your feet and into the bushes. But it fails, so instead of making its presence known by effect, it can only get attention from its sound, its endless wordless white noise.