A summer rain brings with it a special odor that most people find to be pleasant. Some scientists believe that humans appreciate the rain smell because their ancestors relied on rainy weather for survival.
This earthy scent that permeates the air after a rain is known as petrichor. Since raindrops themselves are odorless, the smell actually comes from the moistening of the ground that produces a combination of fragrant chemical compounds. Australian scientists first documented this process in 1964. More recently in the 2010s, scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology studied the mechanics of the process further.
When raindrops first fell on Monday (Aug. 22), the smell of rain from up valley was already in the air. The dark clouds gathering and winds picking up had alerted Mazama and surroundings that a storm was on its way. The storm that arrived packed a wallop. First came a downpour followed by hailstones jumping up all over the lawn like a circus of Mexican jumping beans (do you know why these beans appear to jump?). As the hail subsided, the heavens opened up again with another deluge.
It wasn’t long before the creeks, ditches, and rivers were rising with muddy milk-chocolate waters racing downstream all the while collecting rubble and debris. Mud puddles grew into small ponds and vehicles caught outdoors sported a new set of water/dust leopard spots.
Just like in the nursery rhyme “Itsy Bitsy Spider” (aka “Incy Wincy Spider”): The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout/Down came the rain and washed the spider out/Out came the sun and dried up all the rain/And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.
When the rain slowed down and the sun peeked out, we humans rushed outside to see if there was a rainbow — always the promise when the sun comes out while it is still raining. Not to be disappointed, there was not only one rainbow, but also a faint second rainbow. This beautiful arc is formed when sunlight is reflected twice within a raindrop, causing violet light from the higher raindrops and red light from lower raindrops. No wonder we love summer rainstorms.
Danbert Nobacon, Kira Wood Kramer and Anna Dooley played and sang at the Mazama Public House on Saturday (Aug. 27) to a full house. Described as punk folk, the music was fun and entertaining. We hope to see them again in our burg.
With the big Labor Day Weekend coming up, here are a couple of reminders: Kiwanis Duck Days will take place Sunday (Sept. 4) in Mack Lloyd Park followed by the Duck Race on Monday (Sept. 5) at high noon at the Chewuch River bridge. Support the cause by purchasing your “winning” duck tickets from local merchants, where the giant duck is moored, online, or from any Kiwanian. Kiwanis support projects for kids.
The Methow Valley Senior Center in Twisp will have a blowout Western Sidewalk Sale on Saturday (Sept. 3), 9 a.m.-noon. Many quality items, including Pendleton woolen blankets, will be available through a silent auction.