Isn’t it a lovely day?

by Musette

 

I’m writing this in the waning Sunday morning for Wednesday’s post.

 

I’ve been an Urban Baby for most of my life.  Water out of the tap (Chicago –  flat-rate, pretty cheap).  AC everywhere, even when I don’t want it.  Public trans, working in all but the most ridiculous temperatures.  Weather was more about making sure I always had  a sweater, since there is always a 50F temperature difference between inside and out.

Then I moved to the suburbs and things got a little weirder.  No real public trans and larger spaces between amenities.   Water was way more expensive – I learned about rainbarrels –  and in the winter, if you’re smart, you keep a pair of boots in your car (and a hat) ‘just in case’ – but hey, it’s the ‘burbs.  How bad could it be?  Your car breaks down, Triple A will be there in a few minutes.  Pretty simple. 
Now I’m in the country.  Real country.  Well, I’m’ in town’ , such as it is, – but a block away, town ends.  For reals.  Water costs more than gas, the source is not abundant and only the Truly Stupid waste it.  Out here, weather is not to be disrespected.  We’ve been in drought for a month, with 90F temps.  Ground completely parched.  That dusty, hot radiator smell that says nature is doing its best to hold on – but it ain’t lookin’ that good.  Rain barrels totally dry (800 gals goes faster than I could’ve imagined).  Capturing every bit of greywater I could, to keep the kitchen garden alive.  Hard work.   Is it 2011?  Or 1811?  Hard to tell, when you’re hauling pails of dishwwater.  No a/c, lots of fans.  You really get a sense of how scary Nature can be, when it’s 100F – inside your house.  And your own insides are cooking.   Whatchagonnado when the well runs dry?  Yeah, ‘that’ kind of scary.

 

5am.  I wake up to 89F and fog.  Crap.  Drag the shower pail outside to the corn.  Yes, it really is That Bad.  Clouds in the near distance – but we’ve been fooled before.  A bit of thunder.  So what.  Last thunder rumbled through on 60mph winds and dropped  all the rain on Chicago, 200miles away.  So…..  Carefully water the corn…

…lightning.  LIGHTNING?  It’s really close….and the wind isn’t picking up too quickly.  A bit of ozone.  That beautiful greeneryyallerygrey sky that portends real rain. THUNDER.  BIG thunder.  Close.  Oh please, please, pleeeeeeze.  Wind, don’t take this rain away from us.  Please?

 

7am. Wind!  Thank you!!!  A massive storm rolls in…and stays.  And stays.  Temps drop to 80F.  Blessed coolness. 72 degrees.  Real wetness, not that awful ‘ sizzling concrete’ smell.   Corn stalks and tomato cages are knocked over but nothing’s broken.    A bean bush seedling is up!  I’m in the kitchen garden, up to my ankles in mud, righting corn stalks, pounding in stakes and tying pepper and tomato plants, the smell of crushed tomato leaf mingling with the wet, ozone-y, beautiful smell of wet earth.  Wet. earth.  Another front is moving in fast.  I need to hurry up.  Wait.  Why do I need to hurry up so damn fast?  I’ve waited a month for this rain.  It’s not radioactive.   Slowing down….pounding the stakes in with precision (there’s not a lot of room for error – this garden is crammed), tying the delicate branches, laden with green tomatoes, with careful deliberation. Rain soaking me through to my undies.  I can feel my liver cooling down.  It’s now raining so hard it’s pooling in my garden clogs.   And my ears.  Weird feeling – the opposite of dust.  The peppers are overgrown – might as well harvest while I’m in here.  Bell peppers the size of softballs – that greywater really paid off.  But now it’s time to let Nature take back over for awhile.  My spine is grateful.

I’m soaking wet, covered in mud  and tomato leaf and stinging pepper juice….and it’s so wonderful.  Rain barrels are full, not that I’ll need them for awhile.  It’s still raining, a now-soft, soaking rain.   The world smells living again.

1pm, as I write this.  It’s actually a bit (dare I say it?) chilly!   Outside, soaking-wet cardinals and finches fluff their feathers as they crowd their feeders.  The hummingbirds zoom past the sugar water on their way to the real deal.   It’s going to rain, on and off, all day.  Such a wonderful thing.  I know some places are getting a bit too much (and too much of the world is not getting enough) but for us, today, this rain is a gift.

I wore Parfum de Therese this morning but the rain washed it all off.  I’m just fine with that.  As beautiful as perfume is, sometimes it’s good to just smell like rain.  And tomato stems.  The slickery-sweat smell of hard work in rain.  Pepper juice. Wet dirt.

 

And Life.

 

 

 

 

 

This is interesting too!

68 Comments

  1. I love this. Nothing smells better than a storm and a wet, green garden.

    • Thank you! And I do, too – especially when they’re so desperately needed, as they are here.

      xo >-)

  2. Wow, thanks for this lovely post, Musette. Seems like so long since we’ve had a real rainy day. Tomato plants – I used to love Demeter Tomato. Perfume is great, but there’s nothing like real smells!

  3. Fabulous post! I love a good summer storm, and nothing is better than the smell of tomato leaves after a rain. I can just feel that “undie-soaking” rain! :-)

  4. That was so beautiful I was literally moved to tears. Thanks!!!

  5. This was such a wonderful and transporting post. It reminded me of March’s post “and then I smelled it” from about this time last year. I find the most compelling reading about fragrance is about everyday (or not, as it were) phenomenon like rain. I’m glad that there’s a lot of that on this blog.

      • That’s high praise, indeed! Thank you.

        And thank YOU, Posse, for enjoying those kinds of posts. It’s nice to be able to express ourselves like that, every now and then, knowing it resonates with you all.

        xo >-)

  6. Truly some of the most delirium inducing swoon worthy scents come from the garden, be it floral or edible. Add dirt and rain ( you listening Etat Libre d`Orange?) and my knees buckle! BTW, I was a dirt eater.
    I was so hankering for that veg-ital smell that I wore Goutal’s Folavril for that tomato leaf note then sprayed vintage Parfum d`Ete by Kenzo on the other arm. The Parfum d`Ete Kenzo always smells to me like those big, fat, juicy, horned tomato caterpillars that I used to pull off my mothers tomato plants. Made me feel like a kid which put a big, fat, juicy grin on my face.

    • Those caterpillars :-w

      I am so on the lookout for them this year. I just gave a wooly to a robin – found him tearing a hole in one of my sunflowers.

      xo >-)

  7. Thanks so much, sweetie, for that wonderful, life-affirming post.
    We get so caught up in the day-to-day stuff that sometimes it’s nice to take a step back, admire Mother Nature in all her glory, and be thankful.

    • Day-to-day stuff is necessary – but so is slowing down. That is the thing with d-t-d….because it IS regular ol’ day to day stuff – it’ll be there after you take a minute to take a breath.

      xo >-)

  8. Ah beautiful writing- beautiful day. Two of my favorite scents are rain on dirt and rain on concrete. Thanks, Musette!

    • I agree, though out here we mostly get rain on dirt. And cows. Wet cows smell…..3:-o -ier

      xo >-)

        • they do, indeed!

          (I thought about you, as I was writing about the cows – there is a herd of Angus down the road apiece, just gleaming in this beautiful rain)

          xo >-)

  9. Lovely post. I’m trying to think what made it particularly special, and the phrase that comes to mind is “you took your time.” Many times we all get caught up in rushing through some task or other, including writing, so thank you for taking some time here.

  10. I’m so glad you were blessed by rain! What a beautiful entry today!

  11. We’re in a very bad drought, too. People are comparing the year to 1911 (based on records) and it will prove to be the worst year recorded. Farmers are selling off cattle early for slaughter because there’s no grass in the pastures. I feel exceptionally fortunate to be on land with a huge supply of well water, although I try to conserve.

    We got the first rain in such a long time Sunday night. It was heaven. I got to explore the pastures on foot for the first time since the temps went down to the mid 80s. (There is never a day without it being over 100F–and I can now tell the difference between 110F and 93F–meaning, the latter isn’t hot at all.) The smell of the earth was so beautiful–and there’s a big honeysuckle bush somewhere!

    When I got home, I put on Fleur de Narcisse. I think L’Artisan is the perfect aesthetic for farm life.

    • I’m still reconciling the notion of you on a hot, dusty, Oklahoma farm. 😕

      Glad you got some rain, too. It really is transforming.

      xo >-)

  12. Reading this post made me feel like I was right there with you…it made me want to go right out and garden…and I have the blackest thumb ever…I can barely keep my hanging plants alive. Wonderful writing!

    • Thank you so much.

      Wonder what you do to make it so black? 😕 Prolly the same thing I do to make my bookkeeping go all horribly wrong. Every. Single. Time.

      :-< xo >-)

  13. Beautiful post. Now, may I be so bold as to suggest that the next time it rains and you are outside, enjoying the glory of it, do a “Singing in the Rain” number.
    It’s fun!
    The third stage is fully innocent but might be misconstrued
    on a website.
    Cheers!

    • I’ve been singing the Irving Berlin tune “Isn’t This a Lovely Day To Be Caught in the Rain” much to the consternation of my step-cub who thinks singing moms are just too godawful for words! ;)) Add a little soft-shoe and he’s beyond mortified!

      xo >-)

  14. Wonderful, wonderful post. I completely empathize! From my Facebook two days ago: ‘You know you’ve been in Colorado a long time when you hear rain on the roof, and it means more to you than “the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.'”

  15. Beautiful, evocative and true. Thank you.

    I grew up in two worlds – big city through the school year and great-grandparents’ farm all summer. Like you, it gave me an appreciation of the difference between city heat and country heat, or city rain and country rain. In the city, weather of any sort is more an annoyance than anything, whereas in the country, life truly does revolve around it.

    …and KirstenMarie, you are so right. Since I’ve come to Colorado, I cherish the rain in a way I never did in my often-soggy portion of the Midwest.

    • Joni Mitchell wuz right! I feel the same way, coming here. I have a whole new appreciation and respect for nature.

      xo >-)

  16. So beautifully written, A., and humbling too. We’ve had the heat, but thankfully enough rain this year. We were in a drought last year though, and then this Spring had “too much of a good thing” with massive flooding and even deaths from all the rain. I was sure it would be dry as a bone this summer (it usually is), but again, thankfully not. I feel so sorry for all of the folks farther West who are suffering. Send lots of prayer, peeps!

    • [-o< And too much of anything (except for dark chocolate, diamonds and vintage Mitsouko) is never a good thing. xo >-)

  17. What a lovely way to start my day! We’re in our 4th week of straight 100+ days here in the Dallas area, and I’m nostaglic for a good thunderstorm. Thank you for the beautiful imagery!

    • You are welcome. I am not imagining a good, soaking rain for Texas. Wait. That’s a big-ass area. We’ll start with Dallas and move on from there, okay? ;))

      xo >-)

  18. Thanks so much for that beautiful and evocative post! I can see and smell it all, just as if I am there. I am loving the peppers this year. Think I will wear Piment Brulant today.

    • I thought about you and the draft horses kicking up dust at your weekly farmer’s market!

      xo >-)

  19. Musette,
    What a beautiful post! We are, so far, getting some rain on a regular basis. But there have been recent summers when there is drought. Even living in the suburbs, it becomes obvious how important Nature is. Every day you pray for rain. So I don’t mind the summer storms. (But can do without the tornadoes.)

    • Aaack! on the tornadoes. Here we get more straight-line winds, which can be devastating – but not quite as horrifying as tornadoes.

      Not to be judge-y but I am stunned at how wasteful so many people are out here. My use of greywater was mystifying to a lot of our neighbors. 😕

      xo >-)

  20. Gosh, I feel like I was out in the rain with you. Parfum Therese is a perfect selection, too.

  21. Hi Musette,

    Wonderful post, beautifully written. For a second or two I was right there with you.

    I.Love.This.Blog.

    x

  22. Glorious.

    Your writing makes me lift my face to the sky and inhale, remembering that feeling, those scents, that sound. Amazing.

    Hope your rain comes down this way; we could surely use it. We’re well over 20 inches behind in our average rainfall. The other day it sprinkled, while the sun beamed. The smell of hot rain on the asphalt was amazing. I’ve never seen so many people in a parking lot happy to get sprinkled :D Be well.

  23. So, so evocative and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your ‘slow’ moment with us!

  24. Where do you live? Thanks for the wonderful post. I think it’s so easy in this modern society to remove ourselves from nature, weather, the elements. A few months ago I took a bike ride on a summer morning — thought the weather would be “fine”. Turned out a thunder storm rolled in and I found shelter on the front porch of an old farm house in Ipswich, Massachusetts. It was fantastic to be outdoors with the smell of the rain, the sizzle of lightening, and the crack of thunder. That weather was fine, too. I pedaled home in the rain, after the thunder had passed, and had a grand time.

    • I’m in the sizzling Midwest. Summer is usually a bake-fest here, shot through with tornadoes. 8-|

      xo >-)

  25. <. My grandfather, who (pretty much subsistence) farmed during the Depression used to tell us: “Respect nature because she has no respect for you.” He had learned that the well-gone-dry, hail-ruined-the-hay sort of way.

    That first rain after a dry spell is a lovely thing, isn’t it? Thanks for writing that, Musette.

    • Your grandfather is very wise. It’s weird, isn’t it, how far removed we can be from nature.

      Until we’re not.

      xo >-)

  26. May you be blessed with many more days of a slow dance through your garden in the rain.

    I heart Perfume Posse :x

  27. I’m late to reply, but this is beautiful. And practically, I’m glad you got the rain!

    • thanks! we’re blessed with more today – and it’s much appreciated, along with the 20-degree drop in temps.

      xo >-)

  28. (Tried to comment twice yesterday and got interrupted both times… ah, kids… the boys finally broke their Air Hogs stomp-launch rocket, after three summers of hard use, and it was a Major Catastrophe.)

    We’d been having that kind of hot weather with no rain up until the Fourth of July, at which point it settled into a more-normal, if more-uncomfortable, pattern of hot humid days and afternoons/evenings with thunderstorms. The ponds are full, though, and since we have well water that has been a good thing. (On July 2, The CEO mentioned to me that the pastures were getting crunchy, and maybe the following week he’d call his friend George to see if George would like to sell him some heifers cheap, just to make sure there was enough grass for the others. Then it rained. HA.)

    No garden this year, because it was so wet this spring that we never managed to get the plot plowed up. I miss the fresh tomatoes.

    Thank goodness we’ve got AC in the house. We’re keeping the thermostat at 77, and that’s hot enough! When I was a kid, we had hot summers like this one, and no AC… my sister and I came down with chicken pox on a summer day when the temps were 100+, heat index 108F, and it stayed like that for a week. We stayed in the tub, mostly.

    A lovely post. I was right there with you in the soaking rain, seeing that dangerous-exciting sky color, smelling the aliveness of the ground and rain and tomato plants!

    • 😮

      The Air Hogs stomp-launch rocket BROKE? 😮

      Call in the Marines!

      I can’t believe you got three summers out of that thing. Around here, it would last about 3 weeks! The cubs wuz HORD on stuff – and dangerous in their inventive uses for expensive things, like using El O’s driver to hit rocks. And throwing propane tanks on campfires.

      8-|

      you are jes’ MEAN to the CEO. Jes’ MEAN. Let that man have his heifers! ;))

      xoxo >-)

  29. What a BEAUTIFUL post! I don’t know why but it made me weepy…in a good way. :x

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