Welcome to my page of quotations about petrichor, or the awesome smells before, after, and while it’s raining — that distinctive, earthy aroma. We especially get these pleasant and exciting scents here in the desert because the warm, dry spells can be long and so the magic has just been waiting to happen.
Earth and rain — dust and desire — what mingled odor of these is not sweet? ~Virginia Garland, “The Rain,” in Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, 1908
The smell of rain was an excitement of the blood. She breathed in the fragrance of wet earth. Lupe felt like Cleopatra, her pores drinking in the gladness of nature, at one with sky and earth. ~Estela Portillo Trambley, “Rain of Scorpions,” 1975
There’s an element of suspense in the air. The air is charged and dense… There’s always a period of curious fear between the first sweet-smelling breeze and the time when the rain comes cracking down. ~Don DeLillo, “The Desert,” The Names, 1982
A subtle but palpable feeling surrounded the three of us, like the scent of creosote and cactus flowers hanging heavy in the air after a long-awaited desert shower. ~Linda Kohanov, “Does the Horse Have a Buddha Nature?,” Riding Between the Worlds: Expanding Our Potential through the Way of the Horse, 2003
This glorious silence is that open door into a clean, free clarity. Chucho listened to the silence and watched the water on mud puddles circling for an open way. The smell of rain is rich with life. ~Estela Portillo Trambley, “Pay the Criers,” 1975
Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm. Beauteous soul! when a storm approaches thee, be as fragrant as a sweet-smelling flower. ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (1763–1825), as quoted in Adam Wooléver, Encyclopædia of Quotations, 1876
Slowly at last the heavy clouds, charged with the welcome water, roll up from seaward; the air grows sultry and still; the creatures of the grove and jungle keep their coverts, as if expectant, like the surface of the soil; there is a hush over all things, as though nature herself were faint; till presently the lightning flashes and the thunder rattles, and down, as if really from heaven and from the hand of God, comes the thick and fresh rain. Then there rises from the ground a cool and penetrating aroma, the scent of the dry soil saturated… ~Daily Telegraph, 1872
Waiting for the end of the drought becomes an obsession… One day there will be a crackling, clean, creosote smell in the air and the ground will be charged and the hair on your arms will stand on end and then BOOM, you are thrillingly drenched. ~Barbara Kingsolver, “Making Peace,” 1998
My name is Margaret Ann Simon…
I like long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain and things that are pink.
I hate pimples, baked potatoes, when my mother’s mad and religious holidays…
~Judy Blume, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret., 1970
But the true lover of rain… has a deep inner enjoyment of the rain, as rain, and his sense of its beauty drinks it in as thirstily as does the drinking earth. It refreshes and cools his heart and brain; he longs to go forth into the fields, to feel its steady stream, to scent its fragrance; to stand under some heavy-foliaged chestnut-tree, and hear the rushing music on the crowded leaves. ~John Richard Vernon, “The Beauty of Rain,” 1863
The sun is rolling slowly
Beneath the sluggish folds of sky-serpents,
Coiling, uncoiling, blue black, sparked with fires.
Above the smell of scorching, oozing pinyon,
The acrid smell of rain.
And now the showers
Surround the mesa like a troop of silver dancers:
Shaking their rattles, stamping, chanting, roaring…
~John Gould Fletcher (1886–1950), “Rain in the Desert” (Arizona Poems), 1915
In July and August on the high desert the thunderstorms come… Lightning streaks like gunfire through the clouds, volleys of thunder shake the air. A smell of ozone. While the clouds exchange their bolts no rain falls, but now they begin bombarding the buttes and pinnacles below… The clouds thicken, then crack and split with a roar like that of cannonballs tumbling down a marble staircase; their bellies open and the rain comes down. ~Edward Abbey, “Water,” Desert Solitaire, 1968 [a little altered
Smell of Rain Quotations
Original post date: 2016 Apr 26
1st major revision: 2019 Nov 19