It started, like all overwhelming events, quite unexpectedly. First, the skies were tinged a pearly grey, then suddenly they whitened and broke into a rain of monsoon proportions. The staccato noise of drops hitting the roof, the surprising brightness of sunshine reflecting in the water, the steamy heft of air… Within seconds I knew that I might as well succumb–having discarded my useless umbrella and high-heeled shoes, I simply ran. When breathless and wet, I finally reached the apartment, the rain started to recede, turning mellow. The deep puddles were filled with green leaves and marigold petals, the street looked shiny and clean…
In Indian folklore, the first rain of the monsoon season symbolizes a release, the promise of spring and rejuvenation. Why did I—far away from the tropics and having just said goodbye to our own rainy spring–feel suddenly touched by this downpour? Perhaps because it has unlocked something within me, allowing me to feel carefree and lightheaded. And what an exhilarating feeling it was! Then it struck me—the scent of summer rain, the fragrance that reminds me so vividly of my childhood and of days long past. This scent was still in the air as I opened the balcony doors—mineral, heavy, and rich, composed of the salty-peppery odor of wet asphalt, the sharp bitterness of crushed leaves and the vegetal darkness of drenched soil. Despite having spent decades away from my ancestral home, wherever in the world I might find myself, the scent of rain never fails to connect me to my roots. Somehow, realizing it on this rainy day gave me a tremendous sense of happiness and comfort.
This reminder of home has been much needed. As I have been traveling over the past few weeks, I have missed my usual routine and my family. Yet every journey, however big or small, is life changing in a way. Every day I discover more and more sources of inspiration and scented mementos. Every morning brings something unexpected and exciting. I almost do not know where to start and how to capture my adventures. I have been wearing very little perfume, mostly because I want start out every morning as a blank olfactory canvas in order to absorb everything the day brings. Still, there are many interesting discoveries and rediscoveries that I have made, from Parfums de Nicolaï Weekend à Deauville to Christian Dior Dioressence, and I hope to share them all with you. Meanwhile, as I smell the scent of rain on my skin, I know that I am not as far away from home as it seems.
Image: Eiffel Tower, Paris, Rain. via wallchan.com