The Australian deserts are usually red. But rain brings transformation.

Everything turns green ∙ potential ∙ life
Everything flows ∙ abundance ∙ growth

Rain releases the scent of organic material on stone, asphalt and concrete. Human noses are extremely sensitive to this. Western scientists call it ‘petrichor’, from old Greek pétra (stone) + íchór (blood of the gods). The Aṉangu in the Western Desert of Australia use a less complicated phrase:

panti wiru: ‘good smell’

And green is the good colour, because green means water, in a desert of red. Western people, in their desert of concrete, understand this too:

green energy = clean
greens = healthy
green = natural = good

Western people long nostalgically and futuristically for green – the Aṉangu connect with it. They use green plants with the ‘good smell’ on their bodies, so they can live, flow and grow like the land.

rain = life = panti wiru = green
the senses are not separate

What do your senses tell you when it rains? Do you smell a deep dark green, as refreshing and full of life as a forest? Do you feel asphalt flowing through your nostrils? Does it move through the air like nail polish remover or sparks above a campfire? Or does petrichor feel like squeezing a little balloon filled with sand?

14 thoughts on “Petrichor

  1. Thanks for this glorious article. Yet another thing to mention is that a lot of digital cameras are available equipped with a new zoom lens that permits more or less of that scene to be included simply by ‘zooming’ in and out. These kind of changes in focus length tend to be reflected inside viewfinder and on substantial display screen right at the back of this camera.

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