Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɪkɔːr/) is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek πέτρα petra, meaning “stone”, and ἰχώρ īchōr, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.
When your week includes a Paul Kelly concert and the petrichor on the inside and on the outside, there is a cellular knowing of kairos. The warmth and dryness of stones heating up in the sun, the skies unburden their load and trickle down through the crevices to the core, refilling the aquifer deep within.
Raindrops on roses are one of my favourite things, and the scent of them opening after rain wafts through my bedroom window, as spent petals fall onto the fishpond silently disturbing the mosquitos. The raindrops find their way to the hard earth and in the in-between spaces meander slowing down, down. The earth releases her scent and we all know it has rained, there is an audible sigh, birds sing, blinds get pulled back, windows creak as they open matching the roses in their capacity to invite the fresh air into lungs.
The rocks hold everything in place, but still give a little for those raindrops to seep down deep. That is what seems to happen to me to when in conversation with those who have been my rocks in these times, keeping me in place, as my tears find their way to the well inside of me, bringing comfort and reassurance. Rock people, not hard people, but people who let tears fall and guide those tears in silence to where they need to go. My cheek takes its turn at the micro level to be the rock, the platform, for my tears to fall and like the clouds, I release my load and get lighter as the earth beneath my feet smells sweeter.
I am making landfall.
It is no wonder Paul Kelly has so many songs about rain, the elemental celt bring us little aches and pains, takes us to deeper water and most of all helps us to smell like rain.
The misty droplets of a winter’s day through the sploshes and splashes of tropical storm, the rain breathes us in as she kisses the earth. I am smelling, like the rain smells, the happy hormones of the afterglow of a first kiss are pumping through me as well as through the veins of the ground beneath my feet. This is a timeless love affair.
When we make rain, be our own earth, find spaces between the rocks we get the chance to breathe in the fragrance of release. Kairos. Osmosis. Petrichor. This is definitely a process and a journey determined by the elements, forces of nature and with all the predictability and unpredictability of a weather forecast.
I know there are seasons to pay attention to that are fixed in the diary – his birthday, Christmas, wedding anniversary. I can plan for those and be intentional in creating artificial climatic conditions. There are other times where such plans have no place and the audacity to think it even possible to plan is to put myself up against all the gods on Mt Olympus. The weather will change, the rocks will shout, the clouds will fill and get darker and heavier – these are laws of nature – and there is change coming.
My promise to tomorrow is to be rock for others, to let the smell of rain seep into my pores, to be confident that after the rain, the earth is refreshed and dust is settled. My promise is to also remember that one good rain does not a drought break.
I wrote this poem 23 November 2014 coming to terms more and more each day of what was ahead by being fully present to the moment –a discipline that still ensures tears. The interesting learning I have now is that once I get past the osmosis, petrichor is welcomed in, this is a kind of resurrection, transformative release. I am not ready to write a petrichor poem yet, but my promise to tomorrow is that I know I will in good time.
One Good Rain
One good rain
Grief hangs heavy in the air.
The clouds gather
Threatening like a drunk in the city on a Saturday night – could be harmless could be lethal.
The body is yearning to weep;
The whole body,
All of heaven and earth.
The whole body weeps,
Tears bring healing.
An electrical storm sweeps through the whole body.
Unlocking all energy,
Energy once trapped,
Just like the cop talking the drunk down
So too are the clouds being coached to turn into rain,
Turning now into tears.
You do know don’t you that can experience a storm
in the desert
The body aches,
The earth aches,
The drought is over.
The earth begins to heal.
The body begins to heal.
Has it broken?
Ah we all know …
One good rain
Doesn’t mean the drought is over.
(c) Moira Deslandes