After the light rain
a grateful Earth
My nose so happy
I think it was Diane Ackerman who enlightened me on this point—when in her A Natural History of the Senses she pointed out two, for me, very nice things.
The first was that the sky reaches all the way to the ground. We walk through sky all the time, we breathe sky. The sky is not something we have to tilt our heads back to observe, we’re in it. Can’t help but. First thing.
The second thing has to do with barometer readings and air pressure. The higher the barometer reading the more the air presses down upon the earth. Clear skies and sunshine are usually the telltale signs of high pressure. Low pressure, on the other hand (think gray, overcast, rain) does not push down as hard upon the earth.
Fragrances—as so much else—are particles, too, and as such are affected by how hard the air pushes down on them. So, after the rain, when the air pressure is still relatively low, fragrances find it easier to rise, and as a result, a forest will be more aromatic during or after rain (low pressure) than during those clear, sunny high-pressure days.
Out walking after a light morning rain, I was delighted to find the air very fragrant, which (as it always does) brought Ackerman to mind. My nose was very happy.