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November 25, 2013

Petrichor: The Scent of Rain on Dry Earth. ~ Andrea Charpentier

Alabama. I am two years old.

The smell of rain on the verdant grass is fresh and soothing.

I am mystified over the transfer, how this wetness from the sky can create a smell, after mixing with the little green shoots that sprout from the ground. It is magic.

South Korea. I am four years old. The storm turns the sky a golden amber color and I am reminded of my favorite drink, Schweppes Ginger Ale. I want to climb to the rooftop to taste it, to confirm my suspicions as to whether or not it tastes the same, but my uncle won’t let me. He doesn’t understand that my parents let me play on the roof all of the time, but they are not here to let him know. I pour Ginger Ale in my bowl of rice to console myself, find it disgusting, and am admonished for wasting food.

Georgia. I am seven years old. The smell of rain is ever-present here in this humid world, and I am now old enough to understand that it helps the little green blades of grass grow, and that they are tied together. The sweet, green smell of wet grass is intermingled with the sharp scent of rain steaming from the street, and I can’t decide which smell I love more.

Georgia. I am seventeen years old. The rain and I are fast friends. I enjoy going on solitary drives in it, and discover that when the streetlights are shining a certain way through the windshield, that I don’t have to run the wipers, and can see perfectly fine; I can allow the drops of water to bead up, creating an affect that is like looking through a thin veil of thousands of tiny gems, back-dropped by a storming India-inked sky. All of the windows are cracked slightly open and music is always present.

Switzerland. I am twenty-four years old. I am lost, exhausted and stare worriedly at the grey sky; it’s going to come down hard any minute. Must I be soaked to the bone on top of being lost? I plead with the storm clouds to wait just a little while longer. They kindly oblige my desperate prayer and let loose its torrents shortly after I finally board the right bus. I silently tell the wet drops flashing over the windows, “Thank you.”

Minnesota. I am twenty-five years old. The rain comes down disguised as snow and I discover I am not a fan of the wardrobe change.

California. I am twenty-six years old. It never rains here and it disturbs my psyche to no end.

Belize. I am thirty years old. It’s June, the rainy season is approaching and I look forward to the approaching “bad weather,” waiting for the rain like a lost love. A briny smell is in the air that is as refreshing as it is intoxicating. A friend and I walk out to the end of the dock, and release the ashes of his dear sister to the Caribbean; mere moments later, we are blessed with a downpour. We run back to the condo, drenched, laughing, crying, baptized.

Los Angeles; still thirty years old. I now understand the rain comes to SoCal only during the Winter season and then only intermittently. It’s a spitting kind of rain and I am always disappointed and there is hardly any scent at all. I am frustrated with how people act as if they suddenly forgot how to drive simply because the road is a little damp, and reminisce on past night drives in the heart of the Deep South, where there was no traffic on the dark back roads. My psyche is no longer disturbed by the utter lack of rain, but it saddens me still. I want so much to feel the power of a thunder and lightning storm, and seriously wonder when this natural phenomenon will fall upon me again. I dream of tropic weather and I recall the scent of rain on dry earth.

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Assistant Editor: Andrea Charpentier/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

{Photo: Franklin Hunting via Flickr}

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