April 25th, 2017 .

Ahh, Petrichor Season!

Pat Morden


This morning as we walked home from the beach there it was, for the first time in 2017 – petrichor.

I must admit, it was not a word familiar to me until a day or two ago, when I read an article in the New Yorker. Petrichor, I learned, is the smell in the air as or just before rainfalls on hot dry ground. (We’d had a couple of dry, sunny days, so the conditions were right.)

The article was an interview with British writer Robert Macfarlane, whose book Landmarks is about the language of place. As a Canadian, I was thrilled to learn that icicles are variously called “clinkerbells,” “dagglers,” “ickles,” “tankles,” and “aquabobs” in different parts of the U.K.

Did you know that the term for two branches of a tree entwining around one another is “inosculation,” which literally means inter-kissing? Or that “brickle,” “nish,” and “knobbly” are Newfoundland terms for ice and snow?

What a wonderful world, that offers us all the beauties of nature and so many singing words to capture them.

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