When I was in the US, curious Americans would ask me, among many other fascinating questions, if in my country, we had four seasons, how hot it was, if we had snow. Innocently enough and with puzzling looks, I would always answer that we had only two seasons: a dry season and a wet one. It is either too hot and humid, or it rains non stop. Looking back, it must have sounded very silly and unbelievable to them, but thus is the weather like in most African countries. And here I am now, in the wet season of endless days of tropical rains.
Now, one thing you must know about me, is how much I dislike the rain. I hate my feet being wet,being cold and hot at the same time, and having to carry an umbrella everywhere. I am in a constant bad mood, my body feels heavier, my brain runs on slow mode: it’s not my favorite time of the year, to say the least. On top of those minor annoyances, I now have to deal with subsequent flooding and badly damaged roads, resulting in many cancelled plans and a bad case of cabin fever. When you have to swim to get from one point to the other, the motivation to do anything is very small, to nonexistent. I cocoon myself, get pampered, only to reemerge better and all fresh, ready for the sun to come back.
But it’s not all bad, fortunately. The only positive aspect of this wet weather, is petrichor. Yes, petrichor. You will ask then, what is petrichor and how does it relate to the rain. Well, let me enlighten you, on this magical word and gift from Mother Earth. According to good old Wikipedia, petrichor is ” the earthy scent when rains falls on dry soil”. That’s right, it’s that intoxicating smell that invades and permeates the air, every time it rains. I love that bacteria made smell, more than anything in the world. This is what, at least to me, a sexy smell is. Petrichor marks the beginning of storms and heavy rains,; the sky opens up and it all comes down pouring for days and days. But after, the water will wash away all our tears and miseries and bring the sun, harvest, joy and hope. There is no smell in the world as rousing and exciting to my senses as petrichor is. It excites my nostrils, awaken my senses, make my skin tingle, and drives me mad, but in a good way. It is pure chemistry and nature, and there is nothing to compare its glory to.
As the petrichor dissipates, my disdain for rain takes place until we move on to dry season. I have forgotten how everything is at a stand still, when the raining season starts here. Everyone nests and settles in, hoping and praying we don’t get any damages from flash floods, that the roads don’t get more destroyed that they are already, and that we don’t have to use jet skis or kayak to navigate those wild African streets.