Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɪkɔːr/) is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek petra (πέτρα), “rock,” or petros (πέτρος), “stone,” and īchōr (ἰχώρ), the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology. From Wikipedia

Memories can be triggered very easily by scents. Petrichor is one such scent. Every time I smell it, I’m whisked back to childhood summers when I stayed at the cabins at Shingle Spit Resort. Clouds would build up over the Vancouver Island mountains, and roll in from across the strait from Qualicum, bringing with it a strong wind and often rain. It would usually occur on a hot summer afternoon after a long dry spell. The rain would release the scent.

I didn’t know this scent had a name. In fact, it was only the 1960s that it was given a name. I can only think that it evokes such a powerful sensual response because, as humans, we would have associated that scent with water after a period of drought. 

A more crass association for me is how, two years in elementary school, Sports Day was cancelled due to rain. I was thrilled as I was not a fan of Sports Day. When I smell Petrichor now, I do get a little shiver, and an internal voice saying, “Yes, free for the day.”

John and Robert McLachlan walking on Shingle Spit Resort in 1965 (Photo by George McLachlan)

The song was written after getting back into music and writing when I moved permanently to Hornby Island. Music had taken a back seat in my life for quite a while; getting back to it felt like the excitement I feel when I smell petrichor.

For a more in-depth story on Petrichor visit this site

Looking southwest to Vancouver Island from the ferry terminal on Hornby Island (Photo by John McLachlan)

Petrichor

It’s been a long dry summer, the wind is on the rise
Blowing in from Qualicum, salt in my eyes
Mom calls to come inside before it starts to pour
I want to stay right here and smell that petrichor

I stand upon these rocks and logs, the years have been so bare
The dry spell with soon be over, I can sense it in the air
The first drops to descend fall upon the shore
It’s all bursting forth, the scent of petrichor

The fluid that flows in the veins of the mighty gods
Raining down from heaven to fill my mind with awe
Goes down deep inside then comes forth from within
The mystery of creating where I begin again 

It’s so strange with inspiration, like climbing a steep hill
Like crossing a great desert, it takes all of your will
Despite best intention to reach in to your core
Sometimes it just means waiting for that scent of petrichor

The fluid that flows in the veins of the mighty gods
Raining down from heaven to fill my mind with awe
Goes down deep inside and comes forth from within
The mystery of creating where I begin again

It’s been a long dry summer, the wind is on the rise
Blowing in from Qualicum, salt in my eyes
Before it’s time to say goodbye and when I am no more
I hope I get one last chance to smell petrichor
Yes, I hope I get one last chance to smell petrichor