The Smell Of Rain

I grew up in Washington State. I was an avid reader, and I had read references to the smell of rain, but had never experienced it. Washington, you see, was always wet where I lived, so it never smelled of rain. It never even smelled wet. It just did not smell at all. Where I lived, nobody EVER prayed for rain, let alone held Ward Fasts for rain.

But Yakima smelled of rain if it had been dry for a while. The smell of wet dust. It happened just as the rain started. Or sometimes JUST before the rain hit.

Wyoming is where I really knew what rain smelled like. It isn’t rain, it is the dampening of layers of dryness. An earthy smell that rises as the dirt first gets damp. It happened a lot, because it rarely rained back to back, it almost always really dried out in between cloudbursts.

There are so many things like this in my life now. I know what they are. I have a metaphor for them. But most people have never smelled the rain I am talking about, so the metaphor does not work, except for THAT conversation. The one where the other person is experiencing a thing, and is not certain whether ANYONE else will get it. Then the metaphor works. The smell of rain is a thing they know I know.

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