We are given no signs from God;
no prophets are left,
and none of us knows how long this will be. –Psalm 74:9
How long has it been since your last experience of Petrichor?
Petrichor is, essentially, the smell of rain. It’s a combination of bacteria being released from dry ground, and the smell of ozone, and the oil from certain dry plants.(Wikipedia)
It’s a wonderful, fresh scent. The scent of new beginnings. Starting over. Purity.
The scent of God-presence.
I love that scent, and I’m happy to say that we’ve had so much water this spring, here in South Central Kansas, that I’ve smelled Petrichor on a number of occasions.
But I’ve had my dry spells. Long, spiritually barren spans when hope wasn’t to be found, and emptiness was punctuated by parched coughing spells. I’ve had moistureless nights when it seemed everyone around me was lost, too. No signs. No prophets. No scents.
I’ve tried seeding clouds with my tears, to no avail. I’ve tried dancing and chanting and praying, and still the dry spell continued. And then…
Petrichor. Named after combining the Greek words for “rock”, and the “fluid” that runs through the veins of the Gods. (Wikipedia) It reminds me of God in the dessert, saying…
6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” –Exodus 17:6a
None of the Israelites mention any fragrance that accompanied that miracle. Perhaps they were too thirsty to pay attention. I wonder, did the water God sent smell like Petrichor? I like to think so. I think God sends Petrichor in remarkable and commonplace settings, in great floods and bare sprinkles.
And sometimes, yes, God even sends the agonizing dry spell. Why? Is it to test us and torture us with dust and heat? Or is this all part of the natural rhythms of God’s created systems? Water follows dust, wet follows dry. I tend to think of Petrichor as no more possible to predict than any of God’s other rhythms.
We’re moving into the dry months, I know. I will try to find God in the wilderness, in the dust. But somedays, as an act of hope, I plan to raise my head towards the sky, and sniff, and declare the thrill of my createdness:
Hallelujah, it smells like rain.
Have a great week,
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One thought on “Petrichor”
Oh, Mitch, that is so beautiful ! Beautiful thots, poetic phrases and imagery. And soooo applicable to this moment. Love you, Mom
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