Friday, September 7, 2012

The Word for the Week 07 September 2012

Today there was a decidedly cool crispness to the air.  While we pulled weeds from the cracks in the driveway concrete, my husband and I tried to define what we were feeling.  It was sort of a smell and a feeling and a sensation.  We couldn't really come up with a description we liked.  The closest I can get is 'umami.'

'Umami' is a word we've borrowed from the Japanese who define it as a savory flavor distinct from saltiness.  Wikipedia says:

Umami has a mild but lasting aftertaste difficult to describe. It induces salivation and a sensation of furriness on the tongue, stimulating the throat, the roof and the back of the mouth...

Tomatoes have umami.  Jasmine green tea has umami.

Autumn has umami.  At least it did on this late summer verging on the tiniest beginnings of autumn day.  This autumnal umami reveals itself through the length of the day and the angle of the sun and in the way the wind freshens and brings a gentle but distinct chill along.

Autumn has a way of sneaking in the back door while I'm not looking.  One day I'm happily tending my tomatoes and the next thing I know, the cucumbers are stalled out and the sweet potato vines are yellowing.  I start to think about taking down the hanging baskets and I wonder where to store the pots for the winter.

Oops!  I said the 'w' word!  Next thing you know, I'll be saying the 's' word.

I gotta go check my tomatoes.

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