Ever heard of the word Petrichor? Well, now you have. In simple terms, it’s the smell of rain. In reality, it has something to do with bacteria and soil and oil secretion, but “smell of rain” sounds much more pleasant.
maybe it’s just me, but there is something majestic and magical about rain. It could be blamed on living in South Africa, I guess, after all, we practically hold a party at the first rains of summer just because it gets so dry! But I think it’s something beyond that. When it rains it almost feels like forgiveness. I’ve never put it in those words before but as I was typing, those ones just arrived and parked themselves there and I think I agree with them. Rain is soothing. Rain is refreshing. Rain brings life and cleans away dirt and dust. Yes, rain is like forgiveness. It is, in essence, a picture of Grace.
Now I could pull out all sorts of references to grace and rainbows and floods and… RAIN! But instead, I’ll get to the point I actually wanted to get to: thunderstorms.
(Perhaps in another post I’ll talk about rainbows and colours, but for now, thunder takes centre stage)
It started raining last night. Gentle, pleasant drops of rain. We ran out and brought in the washing that was drying on the line. We watched from behind windows as the rain came a little harder. The door was open and the moist breeze fluttered in. I turned off the lights to watch the drops in the darkened world.
And then it came – that first faint rumble. Thunder! Rolling and wandering and tumbling across the sky like a giant breaker on the shore.
And then nothing but the constant tapping of rain.
Then another came. And another. And then one accompanied by a brilliant flash of radiant light that lit up the whole city for one brief moment.
And from there, nothing could stop it until it was sated. No wind, no fire, no American government or South African protest. Nature was on display and proving again how futile and pointless human efforts are in comparison to the greatness surrounding them.
And there I sat. technology unplugged for fear of the shock, curtains and windows open to let in the stray splashes, the wayward gusts of wind, and the sound and light of the thunderstorm.
And this morning, what greeted me as I woke up? None other than Petrichor itself. That sweet, surrounding, comforting smell that cools down temperatures and raging spirits. I walked out onto waterlogged grass, saw the remnants of the rain on the paving bricks, saw the gentle swelling of water-drops on leaves, and breathed in freshness itself. And it felt cleansed. As though all the failure of winter, all the death and the heart-ache and the accumulated dust and dirt of disaster had somehow been washed away.