Tuesday, July 05, 2005

rain scent

Today, like yesterday, I woke up late and feeling like a ton of bricks had materialized and crushed me in my sleep. My head the consistency of cotton; my nose clogged. The flu-like symptoms made me finally decide not to go to the office and instead work from home, where I can blow my nose with impunity.

It has been raining; the temperature has deliciously slid down a few notches, bringing a sensate illusion of coolness. If you ignore the humidity and the fact that you could swim through the thick air if you really tried, it's really quite a pleasant day to stay home. Freed from the office phone and the immediate demands of standing projects that my presence there invokes, I've been puttering around, replying to the slowly lessening number of text messages from clients and suppliers, putting things into order, trying to regain use of my water-logged brain cells, trying to get well.

The sound of raindrops against my window makes me suddenly aware of things, like how much I love the smell of rain. When I was a little boy, I would run out when it started to pour, triggering dire words from my mother and aunt who were convinced that I would catch my death of pneumonia. It wasn't the feel of raindrops on my skin that I rushed out for, but rather the exhalation of the ground as it got progressively drenched. It's hard to describe, but you know what I mean - a sort of heady, loamy, earthy aroma, strong and pure and true, primal and invigorating and irresistable.

I remember getting my rubber slippers stuck in the forming mud, going barefoot without a second thought, heedless of germs or infection or the accidental slip. I'd stand there, squishing the soft wet earth, arms extended, my eyes closed against the falling rain, enveloped in the smell, my little self engaged in an act of unconscious thanksgiving.

Today, I live on the top floor of a 36 storey building, so far removed from the ground. But when it rains, like now, right now, my nose finds the phantom trace of scent, my sense of smell hurls itself down the condominium to the ground, and I realize that things like concrete and distance cannot stop memory or imagination.

My nose knows certain truths; distance and height means nothing. There it is. The smell of rain.


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