M3 NOVEMBER

M3 NOVEMBER

The Scent

Pumpkin Pie, Fallen Apples, Bonfire, Wood Smoke, Dried Grass, Fallen Leaves, Wet Branches, Damp Moss, Chanterelle Mushrooms and a hint of Pine Forest

The Story

This is just one book by Tove Jansson that, when I first read it as a child, I didn't enjoy. It was far too melancholy for my young taste. The story concerns a group of people who come together unexpectedly one November at a small house in a valley beside the sea. They come with fond memories of summer days spent on the shore, sitting quietly amid blooming flowers and, most especially, they remember the kindness of those who lived there. They come seeking comfort and solace from the family whose house this is. But the family has gone away and now the house is abandoned, dark and musty. Now in November the valley is filled with rain, chilled air and the scent of decay.

These people are thrown off by the family's absence. They are puzzled, upset and sometimes angry. They quarrel and they sulk. But, hopeful the family will soon return, they decide to remain and, slowly but with difficulty, they come to terms with the fall, with each other and with themselves.

As I read this book now many years later, I realize this is a fascinating character study and quite a subject to tackle in a children's book. There is no adventure here - only feeling and reflection. Now I can marvel at how well Ms Jansson tells her tale. I suppose that now I have the experience to appreciate her story, these characters and their feelings...

For decades November depressed me. As the year died away, I too longed for warm green grass, long summer evenings spent with friends outdoors and the sight of fireflies twinkling in the woods. the days became shorter and colder and i would become more and more gloomy. This feeling would never really leave me until the first snow fell. Sometimes that was a long wait...

But i have learned to embrace November and find comfort in the beauty of decay. I have come to realize the warmth I long for is still there - but it has taken other forms and it has changed just as I have. Change is inevitable and although I am still sometimes sad as the fall deepens, I know there is much to look forward to. The coming snow will bring the warmth of family and friends.

So now on rain chilled November afternoons, I am content to sit quietly and wait...

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