Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Smell of Rain

Rain may be the enemy of summer picnics and days at the beach, but I don't think anyone can deny that rain possesses a certain magical ability to effect our imaginations.

Last night, sometime between 4 and 5am I was awoken by an earth shaking clap of thunder, the kind that triggers car alarms and sets dogs to barking. Thunderstorms always send a little thrill of excitement running through my body, as if the electricity from the storm is literally connecting to my nerve endings and pumping life into them. It isn't hard to see how Shelly came up with her idea for Frankenstein. I don't know how long the storm went on, I drifted on the edge of sleep listening as the thunder retreated into the distance. Eventually all that was left was the patter of rain in the leaves of the tree outside my window and an occasional far away rumble.

When I woke up this morning the air was still damp and the clouds were hanging low in the sky. I wheeled my bike out of the garage and headed to the gym. I love my rides to the gym, or anywhere really. Peddling down the tree lined neighborhood streets I'm always a little surprised by how lovely everything is, and how entirely I miss this sense of beauty when I drive.

Today was especially good for a bike ride, the air smelled of fresh rain and damp wood. Anyone who has ever gone camping in Northern climates will recognize it as the smell that the forest has in the early morning when the dew and perhaps even a little bit of rain from the night before is still hanging in the air. It was overcast, but there was a sort of glow emitting from the vegetation all around me. We've had the kind of summer that toasts lawns to a golden brown and renders sprinklers helpless to revive them. But autumn is creeping in, the last few weeks have been cool and we've been getting more rain. The lawns are looking almost revived lush and emerald green, the earth and exposed tree bark have been stained a dark rich brown by the rain and the first signs of autumn color is beginning to gild the crowns of some of the trees.

I will be sad when winter closes in and my bike is longer be an appropriate mode of transportation.

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