It is Tuesday morning and I’m enjoying the rain that continues to fall outside my window. I donned by rubber-boots, raincoat and rain-pants and went for my first rubber-boot walk of what I hope will be a nice wet rainy season here in parched Sonoma County, California. Fully protected from the downpour, I could rejoice in the sound, smell, touch and even taste of the rain. I found myself fully in the moment, relishing the plopping sound of the fat raindrops as they accumulated on the bay laurel and released to the leafy forest floor below. Oh and the smell, the smell is divine, a mixture of the spicy smell of the bay trees and the licorice smell of the wild fennel tall and dry along the road as well as a smell that is all its own – the smell of fresh rain on dry ground – to be more precise petrichor. I didn’t know this word until my friend Jennifer shared it with me. Petrichor means “the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry grounds”. A pair of Australian scientists coined the word in 1964 and I found a surprisingly beautiful video that shows how this aroma is released into the air here is the link.
So I am blessed this day to have experienced this feast of the senses this morning and to be reminded once again to observe this brilliant moment. That phrase has become a bit of a mantra from me and I hope it will remind you to seek wonder every day.
The painting above is a new one. It is titled This is Now. I finished the painting last week and hung at Gallery 300 in Sebastopol CA, yesterday. The inspiration for this piece came from an entry in my sketchbook from some time ago that said only this: This is Now, this is Today – Yesterday is gone – Tomorrow is not yet here – What shall I do? – Who shall I be?
Well the rain has come to Northern California this week and it feels good and right and bright, like a fresh, clean start. For those of you not familiar with the region the rains generally stop in May and a slow drying process happens for the next four months, by the end the hills are dry, brittle and parched and the roads and walkways dusty and dingy. So the first rain is always a relief, a drink of fresh water in our thirsty throats. (I will say the grape growers aren’t so happy because the mild summer meant a late harvest and the early rain can mean bunch rot). But I wager that most people, outside the wine industry, where happy to see the rain. This morning, in a sunny patch between storms, my yard and patio were sparkling and fresh, leaves happy and uplifted, birds chirping in excitement, hopping among rain jeweled branches. Summer weather gets you thinking about throwing open your doors and mind in search of a warm breeze and adventure, but a cool autumn rain says, soup, and tea and curling up with blankets on the couch. Autumn beckons you home. So put away the hammocks and stack up the patio furniture, pull out your favorite sweater, make yourself a pot of tea and come inside, after all that summer wandering it’s pretty nice in there.