Early yesterday morning, before my usual mid-weekend-morning cuppa out on the verandah,
I started to smell the rain.
It's one of the scents I always associate with summer.
Now I know this is a difficult concept for some. Many are familiar with the smell of rain when the raindrops start hitting the dry ground. That earthy "after-rain smell" hits once the rain touches the hot dry earth.
We sure do get that wonderful warm earthy "after-rain smell" in those first few moments when it starts to rain, and it continues to linger after the raindrops have stopped. However, here in the tropics there is also another, quite different scent that you can sniff in the air as rain approaches ... BEFORE the rain actually reaches your corner of the world. It signals that rain is a-coming! There's often no other tell-tale sign ... no thunder, no lightning ... well maybe some overcast grey skies.
Yesterday morning I woke to see dark stormy clouds getting together, attempting to create the impression that rain was not far off. But so often, this amounts to nothing at all and I'm left wishing and hoping! So, I didn't get my hopes up until ...
... I began to sniff that heady, intoxicating scent that convinces you that, after a long, long dry spell, today is THE day!
I consider this pre-rain scent vastly different to that earthy after-rain smell. Somehow it's sweeter and crisper, fresher, more invigorating and alive.
I'm aware there's something called 'petrichor', a term coined by two Aussie CSIRO researchers to describe the scent of rain as it hits the dry hot earth. It's caused by a couple of compounds in the soil, one of which is known as geosmin ... "earth-smell". There's a school of thought that states when a storm threatens, a few molecules of geosmin start to drift away through the air downwind, warning others that rain is on its way. Apparently our human nose is highly attuned to this particular fragrant soil-borne compound, and we can smell a little of it from a long distance away!!!
Well, maybe it's our humidity levels ... apparently smells travel farther in areas that experience high humidity. So perhaps it is geosmin carried on the heavily mositure-laden air from a long way off, where the rain has already hit the sizzling earth.
Whatever the cause, that pre-rain smell is wonderfully exciting when there's been no rain for quite some time. Then the sound of the rain hitting the tin roof almost makes me want to do a little dance ... out in the rain!
Of course, all this will change it if keeps on raining for weeks and weeks and weeks!!!!! But, for now, both the garden and I appreciated the long awaited day of rain.
I get so excited when the rain arrives after a dry spell, that I even save the experience! Here's a little video clip taken from the front verandah as the rain fell.
(Please note: if you want to view the video clip, you will have to scroll right down to the bottom of this blog page and stop the playlist from playing!!)
Savouring the song of summer: