What is that smell
when it rains?

Rhythm of the Rain
"Rain In Sunset" by Picchi Anchise

Most 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").

When 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 in.

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.

Another 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.

Another 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! ... From ... HowStuffWorks.com

RAIN THERAPY: “How may I find refreshment in the rain,
when I'd rather be outside doing something in the sunshine?”

If 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
• Go outside 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

The 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. ... By Francie Klopotic www.Aquarius-Atlanta.com

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