‘Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns…
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.’ Odyssey
Learning is a heady pleasure. Rainy days, when viewed in this context, can bestow hours of ripe deliciousness. A rainy day, a book, a warm fire (or knitted coverlet, or crazy quilt, or bunny slippers, whatever floats your boat); these components, when combined, are like bundled atoms of compressed energy. Fuel for another day, perhaps. Or ‘emotion recollected in tranquillity’, as the poet Wordsworth once wrote.
‘I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind.
‘In this mood successful composition generally begins, and in a mood similar to this it is carried on; but the emotion, of whatever kind, and in whatever degree, from various causes, is qualified by various pleasures, so that in describing any passions whatsoever, which are voluntarily described, the mind will, upon the whole, be in a state of enjoyment.’
Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, we webfoots know a thing or two about rain. Yet today, while the morning rains began to fall, and the switch was flipped on the gas fireplace, I learned some things about rain I didn’t know.
Plus it dove-tailed nicely with the fact that I love awesome word coinages.
The fast answer is: ‘petrichor’ is how rain smelled after 1964. But don’t let me spoil all the fun. Head over to Mark Aldrich’s blog to learn more. Any time you start an article with ‘nature of argillaceous odor’ in the sentence, you have my attention.
My reading this morning took me from how rain smells; first scientifically defined in 1964, as something to do with rocks and ‘ichor’…this takes us to ancient Greek lore…so off we go to the delightful word tasting blog Sesquiotica (you see how we’re keeping with the theme of deliciousness here?) for some curiously unknown details of Homer and his hero Odysseus where I learned of a ‘millihelen’, which is defined as ‘beauty sufficient to launch one ship’….(I can’t believe how brilliant that is!!)…from there we go on a search for Robert Fagle’s translation of Homer, a part of which is quoted in the heading above.
Even my love for Thirkellian long sentences has its limits, so I decided to create a new paragraph….off we go back to Mark’s blog with his mention of argilleus–another new word coinage–creating the time warp effect of sending me back to ancient Greece, again, because the Argo, as we know, was a ship set afloat by rain. Oh, and maybe launched by a wee bit of millihelen.
Rain, yes, rain.
This was all in the space of one cup of coffee.
I like rain.
Rain, for now, is giving me time to write, and think, and read and reflect. So–
I like rain.
I hope you visit these other posts, that enriched my morning. They won’t mind your bunny slippers.