I like the word. I love the smell.
That distinctive perfume that dirt and concrete emit after the first hint of rain.
I miss it down here. Our rains usually descend on us with the subtly of Lord Byron’s Assyrian hordes -- a metaphor I can no longer recall without hearing Ogden Nash’s warning to simile-besotted writers. Advice I obviously do not take to heart.
Because I live in the tropics, our rains tend to be tropical. Torrents. Deluges. Niagara Falls without the barrel.
The petrichor does not rise, I suspect it is there. Buried beneath the Noah-like waters that are left behind by our summer rains.
But there are exceptions. And this year’s weather is certainly one. By now, the grey jungle should be building its canopy. We have had only two brief rain encounters. And the jungle sits out there -- unclad and sulking.
Then last evening something very unusual happened. A shower. A spring shower that must have got lost on its way from the Pacific Northwest.
Franklin Roosevelt and I were sitting on the patio. He was negotiating with the Japanese in November 1941. And I was flipping pages to see what would happen next. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but the negotiations did not go well.
Just before the sun set, everything went quiet. The wind becalmed. The roosters put a truce on their declarations of territorial supremacy. And the feisty, cinnamon-colored hummingbird stopped chiding whoever it is he bosses about every afternoon.
And then it started. A drop here. A drop there. As if Chac had decided to show his feminine side by using a watering tin instead of a bucket.
I put down my book and did what everyone around here does when it starts raining -- stood in its refreshing stream. It felt good.
But nowhere near as good as that fresh rain scent that holds the promise of a fresh start.
That the past can simply remove its clammy hand. There are good things to be lived.