Fallen leaves, rotten fruit, earthworms, chicken feces, and charcoal residue mix with orange-red earth, the mud from our backyard is full of many little things. I remember huddling under patterned cloths, waiting for sweet petrichor , the smell after earth and sky have made peace, a smell that I still can’t really describe. It’s unique.
In Freetown, I loved the experience of rain so much.Well,at least indoors.I heard rain and I heard an inner beating of the earth’s rhythm, an orchestra of the elements. I drew dreams and created beautiful stories, as the sapphire tears pounded heavily on aluminum roofs, and seeped into vats and plastic buckets.
I remember how I would go to the back yard and look up at the sky, as the clouds gathered to form graphite darkened beauty:
“rain de cam jisnor”,I would yell out to whoever cared to hear, trembling slightly from the cool wind and with anticipation of all that was to come with the rainfall: my mother massaging my feet with ori* so I wouldn’t be too cold; my father, convinced he was about to get a bout of malaria as a result of the nation of mosquitoes the rain summoned, would boil lemongrass and make tea( he still swears it’s a good prophylaxis), and the odor would glide gracefully through our house, soothing…calming…
However,my favorite part about rain, was the sound. Have you ever listened, no, really listened to the sound of rain? Shut away all your thoughts …and just… listened?
In nursery school, our teachers,underpaid and constantly irritated, read from dusty tattered textbooks sent to us from the “enlightened” and “civilized” ,and instructed us that the exact sound of rain was
“PITTER-PATTER-PITTER-PATTER!!” “REPEAT AFTER ME!”
…but I never heard my rain that way, and even then,I knew that the teachers were wrong. And I still know they are wrong, because when I listen to the sound of rain… in the cacophony of thunder, water, and earth, I hear music, music so gentle, but yet so stirring, so calm, but yet so frenzied. I hear the intricate symphony of orange rain.
*Ori is the Krio word for Shea butter, sometimes mixed with menthol or mint oils.