After weeks of dry weather, the rain falls on dry grass, stone, soil, flowers – sending a fragrance to the playing child and rising to the gods who once were the only ones so naturally perfumed.
That pleasant-to-some-of-us smell that can accompany the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather has been given the name “petrichor” (PET-ri-kuhr). It is a modern word, taken from the Ancient Greek words πέτρα (pétra) ‘rock’ or πέτρος (pétros) ‘stone’, and ἰχώρ (ikhṓr), which was said to be the blood of the gods in Greek mythology. This unique, earthy fragrance comes from rain combined with plant oils, compounds in the dry soil, the ozone in the air, and geosmin from soil that is released into the air.
Migrating in the fall to escape winter,
living only two to six weeks except
for the last generation of the year,
which can live perhaps nine months.
I need flight, escape, migration, a warmer gathering.
It was meant to end this spring.
It was left fallow, without any sowing,
and it allowed for recovery, retaining essentials,
disrupting lifecycles of pathogens by removing hosts.
There is hope with any new growth.
Though I was inspired by a field I saw that had been left fallow – unplanted – last year, the poem is also about the past year of pandemic. We were hopeful that the year of that would come to an end after being fallow. Spring is a hopeful time, but I’m still not sure how much new growth we’ll see this year or what we may be able to harvest at the end of 2021.
of garlic in October – a family tradition.
Hardneck ones underground in fall will sprout
in spring after sheltering all winter long.
Not so different from me these days,
with my papery coverings to protect me.