Sunday, June 26, 2011

showering alone


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.


Mexican Trailrunner said...

 Well said!  ¡Viva Chac, viva!

blog said...

Major drought here in NEW Mexico - would appreciate even a few drops.

Karen Deborah said...

your writing is amazing

Maz said...


Steve Cotton said...

I guess, in this context, it could be petri-Chac.

Steve Cotton said...

People say the same of my tab le manners. But I am not certain they mean the same thing.


Steve Cotton said...

After I drafted the post, we had a bit of light show off to the south. But no more rain. I fear we have none to share.

Steve Cotton said...

I fear Chac may be vacationing in North Dakota.

Jonna said...

mmmmm, I'd forgotten about that word.  I wonder if it also applies to my favorite smell, hot concrete as you spray it with water?  That smell always makes me happy, especially when mixed with just a hint of chlorine.  

Steve Cotton said...

Even if it doesn't, we will say it does.

Art Moretti said...

don't know much about FDR negotiating with the Japanese......gotta read up on that!

Plenty of rain here in the elevated desert of Wyoming this year.  And summer hasn't arrived yet.  Rivers are up.  Tourism is down.  Yeah.

Steve Cotton said...

I had forgotten about the direct talks between Roosevelt and the Japanese ambassador -- including a personal letter mailed to the Emperor on 6 December 1941.  Knowing fully well, of course, that it would all end in war.

Art Moretti said...

is there a word for that combination of  Full Blasted continuous Air Conditioning and Cigarette Smoke smell that one can always get when 
 opening  the door to a bar or night club?

Steve Cotton said...

Would that be "good times"?