The Smell of Rain

St. John’s Wort and Motherwort in bloom.

Our yellow Lab behaved strangely most of yesterday, acting mopey and dull. We thought he merely missed the stimulation—and overflowing love—of our grandchildren during their first visit in twenty-one months (due to the pandemic). Maybe. But, when the heavy rain began, he shot up, clamored to go outside where he ran about like a fool, then he came back in and resumed his happy-go-lucky Lab nature. Thank the gods of weather.

Whether pre-storm air contains mass quantities of positive ions, (some say these can trigger migraine, and I can attest), flipping to the better (for us) negative ions during the downpour—or not—it certainly appears that way. I welcome any source of healthful well-being I can snatch, from the dizzying merry-go-round we’ve been riding: up and down, up and down, round and round we go. . .

I plead guilty of taking another hiatus from posting, and (forgive the excuse) attribute this neglect to psychological response after having been on guard all these many months (years). Some of us shine during a crisis, then fall apart afterwards. That would be me. Not good. After a period of sweet-talking myself and refocusing my intentions, I believe I’m nearing the “good red road,” a phrase entwined with living in harmony on the Earth and by our better angels, to mix spiritual metaphors. Emerson’s “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own minds,” comes to mind.

Several tribes of Native Americans inhabit Wyoming and borderlands, including Northern Arapaho, Eastern Shoshone; Northern Cheyenne and Crow in Montana, just north of here; Lakota and Dakota to the east. This is a gross generalization, as of course many folks have left the reservations. In yet another instance of recognizing (do we really have to say this?) lives that matter, may we cease to ignore or dismiss the myriad cultural gifts our First Nation neighbors have made to our collective civilization, in obvious appeal. Would that “civil” were better represented today. I love how Potawatomi Citizen and author Robin Wall Kimmerer ignites conversation about indigenous people’s methods of scientific inquiry and practice; of late, their wisdom about fire and how to manage controlled burns is pertinent. Her recent book, Braiding Sweetgrass, burns with such wisdom—knowledge paired with experience, eons of it.

So, it finally rained yesterday evening and during the night, a real gully-washer, and a refreshing topic neighbors can discuss, at last, as my husband just did with the honey-wagon man (who cleans out septic systems—a necessary chore every few years here on the croft). The rain gauge registered .9 inches, nearly an inch. Outstanding! June is normally our wet month, but not so this year. The land suffered six weeks with no rainfall, save short spritzes here and there. I did water the orchard trees, one by one, as usual, and all around the house for fear of fire danger. This moisture, thankfully, may offset some of the drought effects. I’d forgotten how sweet the air smells after a long, hard rain. Ahhhh.


Negative ions or not, the Lab’s response may prove the more righteous one and demonstrates the greater gratitude.