Being in tune with the natural surroundings makes the coming of the seasons so pleasurable. It is one thing that Japanese culture is in sync with, nature. It may not seem it, but if you could ease drop in on a conversation in a tea house one of the appropriate subjects for this time of year would be the blooming of the 金木犀 キンモクセイ(kinmokusei), Orange Osmanthus, also known as fragrant orange.
This tree is not beautiful. It looks the epitome of completely ordinary. Through out the seasons it is just a tree, with branches, leaves and roots. One would walk by it and not even give it a first thought. It is a tree that is just there.
This is when the magic really happens. For about a week to 10 days the minuscule blossoms of the fragrant orange osmanthus open and release their scent into the world. I always smell the fragrance before my eye spots the tree. The sweet orange scent with hints of cooking butter waif through the breeze. I like to search for the tree once the aroma hits my brain. I love to let it fill my nostrils in the cool dry air of autumn.
This little unassuming tree becomes extraordinary, if for only a few days. It is well worth the effort to track them drown and let your mind drift on the buttered orange waves of autumn.