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Odes

Ode to the Scent after Rain

            The scent of rain is a hymn of the faithful. The Earth rejoices in the fulfilment of a promise, and in the desert it is a precious gift of life. It is hard to pin down exactly what the scent is or where it comes from. Perhaps it is the leaves, or the flowers, or the soil, or a combination of all of these things. No matter what, it is a rich bouquet. The very perfume and cologne of the Earth released in a rare whiff. Rain is the most effective of watering mechanisms for plants, but it is not only the plants that release a magical scent into the air. The very soil emits its own smell that speaks of the renewal and promise that is locked in the soil. It is as if you can sense the new life of seeds sprouting in the earth through your nose. A thousand new promises are being made while the plants already alive nearly leap and bound in their rejuvenation. They contribute their own scents that speak of recovery from near death, of the renewed will to persevere, of the chance to put forth new growth. It can be different in various areas. In the deserts of Arizona, it is the redolent and heady scent of creosote. In Northern Arizona it is the clean scent that pine-fresh can only dream of emulating. In Taiwan, it is the overwhelming panoply of the jungle plants. Herbs can provide their aromas that are usually only released through coaxing and physical contact. Everything around you comes into balance and the perfection of that balance is in the ebullience of the air. Pollens, pollutants, and dirt are knocked out of the air, so the air itself is fresh and clean. It gives me release from my allergies. I will stop what I am doing if able only to go outside and smell the best scent in the world. I will throw open the windows and doors to the world. It brings a special feeling and vivid experience to seeing my garden right after it rains. Scent purportedly is the most strongly linked sense to memory and thus it makes each memory of rain-the expectation, the experience, and the beautiful aftermath-of it that much more poignant. If I would call any one thing in the entire world holy, it is the scent after rain.