Have you ever come across a word and suddenly it starts showing up everywhere?
I don’t know how I went through my entire life without the word “petrichor” being introduced into my vocabulary, but I did. Until one day, while watching an episode of Doctor Who, “petrichor” entered and then I noticed it everywhere. It started showing up in memes, blog posts, Tumblr posts, all sorts of random places. Maybe I had never noticed it before, but a glorious word like “petrichor”, which dances as it rolls off the tongue, seems like a word that wouldn’t escape the notice of my younger self. I have always loved words, and words that are fun to say have always been my favorites.
The Oxford Living Dictionary online defines petrichor as follows: “A pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather…” I never had really thought that the wonderful scent that wafts on a breeze before the rain actually hits the ground might have a name.
One of my favorite places to experience petrichor is up in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There I can watch the rain roll in, across the valley. The wind brings the scent of new and old, all at once. Petrichor brings to mind the very smell of the earth, and old smell, a comforting smell, an unchanging smell. The smell of wet leaves on the wind brings the scent of new life and change. In the end, that is what life is all about. Old and new, working in conjunction with each other. They dance together, changing movements and rhythms to suit the time and place. Petrichor is the perfect word for the smell of the earth, getting ready to make way for new growth. It is a dancing word.
These words dance on the tongue but also dance in and out of our lives like fairies drifting on a summer breeze.
A summer breeze that brings petrichor.