Smells like Rain

The hunter sat waiting and looking up in a beech-wood. “The leaves were whispering faintly over my head,” wrote Ivan Turgenev. “You could have told the time of year from their whisper alone.”

“Partly cloudy, wind NNW, 62F,” a weather app might have reported. But there was no weather app. Turgenev wrote those words in 1846.

Recently I noticed that I was checking the weather a dozen times a day on my smartphone, tracing the rain on radar, and completely missing the experience of the weather itself.

So for the last six weeks, I’ve turned off the app and rediscovered the smell of rain. I’ve watched the leaves on live oak trees, suffused with red violet at dawn, and tried to guess the weather from their whispering. I like this new freedom.

The other day, after I’d cut the grass and raked the paths, I sat outside sniffing the weather at sunset. The grass was soft. Clouds drifted by. Night descended.

A weather app. on someone else’s phone probably read, “Rain, 40% precip., wind SW 4 mph; 67F.”

I heard a cricket chirp.