I know the rain is falling somewhere
because of the earthy scent.
The breeze freshens and
I inhale: bliss.
At first, living in the desert
was pure, unrelenting heat.
There seemed to be no up-side.
But then monsoons shouldered into town,
scattering lightning like angry gods,
and hurling rain randomly:
one area drenched and flooding,
and surrounding areas
left bone dry.
Rain on the caliche releases
a magical natural perfume, half earthy,
half damp, smelling of ozone and bitter salt,
earth and growing and water.
Impossible to describe, but irresistible,
at least to me,
my first realization
the desert has beauty, too.
pet·ri·chor (‘pe̩trikôr/) noun, a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. “Other than the petrichor emanating from the rapidly drying grass, there was not a trace of evidence that it had rained at all.”
Caliche (ka-lee’-chee, or sometimes klee’-chee) is a sedimentary rock, a hardened natural cement of calcium carbonate that binds other materials—such as gravel, sand, clay, and silt. It occurs worldwide, in aridisol and mollisol soil orders—generally in arid or semiarid regions, including in . . . the High Plains of the western USA, in the Sonoran Desert . . . . Caliche is also known as hardpan, calcrete, kankar (in India), or duricrust. The term caliche is Spanish and is originally from the Latin calx, meaning lime.