It is a time when the soul turns poetic, mesmerized and spellbound by the charisma that autumn bestows on Hanoi.
The scent of milk flowers in the wind
Green rice scent in your little hands
Leave a fragrance in your footsteps.
Trinh Cong Son’s song, Nho Mua Thu Ha Noi (Missing Hanoi’s Autumn), would play on my neighborhood’s old loudspeaker when I was a little kid.
The indelible memory that evokes extraordinary beauty is refreshed anew every October as I wake up, open the window and a calm and gentle breeze ruffles my hair.
The sun seems mellowed, too.
There are fragrances and hints of fragrances in the air, lingering like a pleasant aftertaste.
When it all seems like a beautiful dream, I know autumn is here, here in Hanoi.
Autumn in Hanoi is a transcendent season. It becomes the muse for poets, musicians and artists, and it becomes the muse that makes everyone’s heart sing.
It casts a spell on everything – the air, the space, the food, the drinks, the fruits.
I was born in Hanoi, and have lived here all my life. Yet, I fall in love every year, at this time of the year.
The spring brings in warmth after a biting cold winter, and the a scorching summer follows. It rains. Then, autumn steps in gracefully, bringing cool, gentle breezes and sunlight that sprinkles just the right amount of warmth all around. The sky smiles a brilliant smile. The leaves of huge trees turn red, reddish brown, yellow and other hues that adorn Hanoi in this season.
In the evening and the night, the famous hoa sua or the milk flower exudes its bewitching fragrance. Along some sections of the West Lake promenade, on streets like Phan Dinh Phung, Quan Thanh, Quang Trung and many other places, the scent is so strong that some people, especially women, said they feel faint.
Autumn also seems to be the season of white and yellow daisies that are carried on many vendors on bicycles and sold on pavements. The sight of women holding bouquets of daisies on a breezy autumn day adds to the beauty of the capital city during this season.