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  • Amy

The smell of winter rain

It has felt like nearly every day in the past weeks has brought rain.


Right now, outside the studio the rain sweeps sideways through the valley, on the back of a rather aggressive westerly; an oppressive palm of wind flattening the tops of trees and beating down the seedlings I planted at the weekend.


While ongoing rain and wind can be a somewhat depressing atmosphere to work in, there is something to be said about the specific aromas exhaled by the earth in periods of wet weather.


Unlike petrichor, the alluring and curious scent produced when rain falls on dry warm earth, the saturated ground has a muddier, heavier smell. Whilst not that cold here, the cooler winter temperatures dampen the exuding aromas so that they hang low to ground, like a dense fog. There is a tired freshness amidst the surrounding branches of plants, shrubs and trees, that immediately expands when the sun peaks out for brief moments, warming the air and delivering notes to my curious nose.


In saturation, scent seems flatter, and the strong winds blow everything distinctive into a singular natural 'wet weather' accord. But the interest for me, the magic, comes in those brief pauses in wind and cloud, where, momentarily free, objects and living things sigh out their individual olfactory expressions. How different things smell through the seasons!


Of course there are some rather unpleasant scents that come with all this rain. Wet dog and damp teenagers' socks being some of the most prevalent here.