It was 4:14 am when the smell of rain awoke me from my sleep. The scent was intense, so much it entered my nose, flowed through my subconscious, and then somehow told the brain to open my eyes. The rain was pretty heavy that night and the thunder loud. Yet, the smell of rain that awoke me. How can I be certain? Well, normally, loud, violent, and unsuspecting sounds, like thunder, a gun shot (hey, I live in NYC), or the fall of a piece of art from a wall in the middle of the night, can startle someone causing fear or a tense reaction; however, that wasn't the case. My eyes opened rather calmly and naturally. I smelled rain before hearing it. I guess the night breeze had something to do with the movement of the scent across my nose and throughout my room. It was a perfectly quiet summer night, complete with some humidity and a subtle breeze. For a few moments, I laid in bed listening to the natural down pour and welcoming the air against my partially covered body. The quietness of the room made it very easy for me to drift into my thoughts. I turned over to grab my iPad mini as something told me to write down what was happening in that moment. I unlocked it and begin typing in darkness. This is what I jotted down: down pour, loud, roar, breeze, sleepy, thunder, loud, tired, alone, stillness, quiet, down, intermuntwnr (I have no idea what that last word is but I typed it maybe as I was falling back to sleep-who knows).
My reaction to the smell of rain was strange and instinctive. Strange because the encounter was new and instinctive because it was automatic. I recall waking up twice that morning and both times the sound of rain wasn't the immediate trigger; instead, it was the smell and the roar of thunder. It's hard to describe the scent of rain but before I drifted back to sleep the first time, I wondered how'd I describe what I was smelling, had someone asked me to. I knocked back out before answering the question but thinking about it now, I'd say rain has a distinctive smell to it. It's fresh, earthy, natural, wet, green, chemical-like, grassy (kind of like the smell of grass after it gets mowed), airy, light, welcoming, pleasant, and euphoric. Don't get me wrong, I've been on this earth for 34 years and I have smelled rain before. Yet, never before have my senses and emotions been so intertwined, heightened, or engaged over rain, out of all things! This is what scent does, it extracts and creates complexities that triggers a reaction, expression, or memory. The sense of smell is connected to a lot. It brings about awareness and acts as a trigger of sort. Before you see or hear, you smell first (at least, I believe so). That night I smelled the scent of rain; it awoke me from my sleep. From that, an authentic connection between me and rain fall was created and a new memory embedded. For me, the scent of rain is no longer what comes after a down pour; instead, it's a reminder of a summer night in August I laid sprawled across my bed filled with emotion, inner peace, and late night thoughts.
Do you have any summer rain memories?
I am attaching a video by Carl Thomas called, Summer Rain. The song is not only good R&B music but the lyrics are similar to what I write about in this post…It's such a sexy song that brings back such wonderful memories.
" Storming Outside/rain she keeps me home Quiet conversations makes me warm/So Summer rain Whispers me to sleep and wakes me up again/Sometimes I swear I hear her call my name to wash away the pain/My summer rain…"