people notice a distinctive smell in the air after it rains. But what causes it?
It's not rain you're smelling; it's dirt. The piquant, musky odor that hangs in
the air emanates from an odorous chemical buried in the soil called "geosmin"
(literally, "earth smell").
the soil dries out, Actinomycetes, a type of filamentous bacteria, produces the
geosmin spores. The wetness and force of rainfall kick these tiny spores up into
the air where the moisture after a rain acts as an aerosol (just like an aerosol
air freshener). The moist air easily carries the spores to us so we breathe them
The bacteria is extremely common and can be found in areas all over the world,
which accounts for the universality of this sweet "after-the-rain" smell.
Since the bacteria thrives in moist soil, but releases the spores once the soil
dries out, the smell is most acute after a rain that follows a dry spell.
sort of smell is caused by the acidity of rain. Because of chemicals in the atmosphere,
rainwater tends to be somewhat acidic, especially in urban environments. When
it comes in contact with organic debris or chemicals on the ground, it can cause
some particularly aromatic reactions. It breaks apart soil and releases minerals
trapped inside, and it reacts with chemicals, such as gasoline, giving them a
stronger smell. These reactions generally produce more unpleasant smell than bacteria
spores, which is why this after-the-rain smell isn't always a good one.
after-the-rain smell comes from volatile oils that plants and trees release. The
oil then collects on surfaces such as rocks. The rain reacts with the oil on the
rocks and carries it as a gas through the air. This scent is like the bacteria
spores in that most people consider it a pleasant, fresh smell. It has even been
bottled and sold for its aromatic qualities!
THERAPY: How may I find refreshment
in the rain,
when I'd rather be outside doing something in the sunshine?
you have never taken time to notice rain, sit by a window on a rainy day and watch
how the rain makes all the colors brighter. Green never looked greener than on
a rainy day, and how about the glorious earth? Yes, there is beauty everywhere
if only we take the time to look. Watch what happens when raindrops hit the trees.
The leaves seem to dance, and the trees come alive with animation. Watching this
can help you remember the importance of rain as a life-giving necessity for our
planet. And, it only takes one raindrop to make a leaf dance. Why not help celebrate
the dance of life with a dance of your own? Here
are a few more ways to help you move through boredom toward acceptance of rainy
days while nurturing your spiritual self:
Meditate to the sound of the rain hitting the roof of your home
and dance in the puddles
Light candles and burn incense while watching
the rain fall
Breathe in the rain smells; visualize yourself being washed
clean of negativity by refreshing raindrops
Take your dog for a walk
in the rain
Pick up that book you've been putting off reading and honor
yourself with a much needed break
Give attention to that favorite project
you've been neglecting
Reinvent yourself by writing goals, dreams, and
thoughts in a journal
Take a long, warm bath with candles and listen
to the patter of rain drops on the roof
next time the weather forecaster calls for rain, look at it as a time for you
to break away from schedules, deadlines, and whirlwind activity and make time
to focus on your being. Let the rhythms of the rain help you put yourself into
the present moment. Allow yourself the luxury to simply be.
Francie Klopotic www.Aquarius-Atlanta.com