For years I’ve told people that I could smell rain before it rained, in school my friends used to laugh and assumed I’d checked the weather that morning. I was always late for class and definitely didn’t have a spare few minutes to check the weather. My mother always agreed that she could smell the difference in the atmosphere but could not voice the change she felt; it was something we both knew. I remember when i was a kid I would spend summers at my grandparents cattle farm far west of Brisbane in rural QLD there was another particular smell I could pick up on, the burnt orange dust that coated the paths before the rain was coming would smell damp and fresh. Nana and I used to rush back to the house from wherever we were, with the horses, motorbikes, who knows.. make ourselves tea and sit on the veranda watching the raining his the dust in hard drops making the dust bounce up at the pressure, until slowly but surely it all turned into a sludge that would make our adventures even more fun.
Today as I walked out of the house with Kara on our way to work I told her I could smell the rain, more prevalent in humid climates or summer, it’s as if soft velvet is encompassing you whole, and in this polluted city it allows you to finally breathe deeply.
On my lunch break I was browsing Facebook like the social media addict I am and I came across this post. It’s an old post dating back to March 2015, the words history dating from 1960 but up until today i’d never heard nor seen it used, and one that i will now be using in my vocabulary. Isn’t it strange that we can get through so many years without knowing certain words, learning a brand new word that’s not just two words smashed together is like finding out there’s a colour we’ve never known about but makes so much sense.
Petrichor is the smell of fresh rain on dry soil or if you’re google ‘a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain.’ I’m mainly so excited by this discovery because trying to define how I smell rain is like trying to define a colour, possible but full of juxtaposing descriptions that seamlessly combine to create an individual experience.
Here’s my word of the day: petrichor. Still trying to figure out how to say it correctly, but i’ll get there.