Petrichor or the smell of snow?

Ever wondered what´s the smell of snow? or the scent of the pitiless cold in winter? Coming from a place where Winter doesn´t exist,I would really like to know what´s the scent of a snowflake and now experience tells me a lot…

Anyway, the other day, I was watching a series and there´s a part where the lead actor says “Come, let us see the wind..”, the lady answered

How can we ever see the wind?” says the Lady.

“Of course, we can, let´s come to the field of Reeds, you see them dancing, sure thing, the wind is with them..” the man replied.I realized that our sensory glands tells us exactly what is happening or even right before it happens.

You see, I live in a small town here in Bavaria and I am telling you,I always go out on the first day when it snowed.I don´t know why, but I just kind of knew the smell of snow…especially the fresh snow. Probably a kind of habit I´ve picked up through the years?

This year, snow came early. It falls on weekend so definitely I decided to take a nice walk .I told my daughter that I will show her how to smell the snow.She laughed at me and said “Oh really!?, howwww? ” I am not really sure how am I gonna do it but I´ll try.Good thing, I don´t need to wear my mask when I am outdoors.Feeling excited, I brought my camera as well with me, just in case I see something nice from the usual sights that we see everyday.

I decided to wear my thermo, just in case I stayed longer outside.I have been running now for 3 times in a row where it rained and snowed, and icy cold as well and it really felt great.I got used to exercising outdoors with minus temps but it´s actually different when I only walk.

I don´t wanna cringe when my feet starts to feel cold so I worn my warm boots, prepared to walk through the fresh snow, and muddy snow later. Of course, with a kid with me ,then it might take a while longer. We didn´t bring her sled since i guess the snow is not that thick for her to go down the hills. Probably next week, or maybe tomorrow.

As we step outside, I found my daughter, clad in her red snowsuit, already sitting in a pile of snow and asking me to help her build a wall. I said what for? She said, she wanna build a wall that extends to an Igloo or something. I really love her imagination. After I brought her to school the other day when it started to snowed as well, she said to me “Leave me some Snow, Mama, I wanna play with it later…”

It makes me even wonder…”why do children loved the cold too much?” Or am I getting old? They are all super excited to see snow and play with it, They can play outdoors building snowman and snow ball fights for hours and hours.

I felt the cold in my cheeks and it´s not even winter yet, but yes, our neighbourhood is transformed into a lovely winter white scenery overnight.The smell of the snow is so pungent, it reaches to my nose, I can´t deny I need to wait for more than 4 months again after we see the face of warm sun again. German winters lasts long, I know it for sure.But somehow, I kind of sense that something might happen, like snowfall.

I ´ve got to get my facts straight so I actually researched about this.I actually enjoyed listening to the Podcast explaining a lot of Physics behind this so I wanted to share a bit of things I´ve heard.

 "On an ordinary winter day, the air smells dry and maybe even dusty. 
Plus the cold and pressure change stimulate the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve sends information that isn’t the same as scent, but is often associated with it (e.g., the coolness of mint or the heat of hot peppers). The end result is the human nervous system perceives a difference in the weather that may account for the smell of snow."

While walking past through the houses, I find it cozy that they leave the lights on. Some have nice Christmas decorations and lights–how fancy. It means, everyone must be staying in longer today and enjoying a warm breakfast together.My friendly neighbours are busy shoveling the snow in their front yards, as if more snow might come soon.Here in Germany, we are obligated to clean the snow in our driveways.The lines of cars parked outside are all covered in thick white snow, like a blanket of overnight madness.I guess the snow from the shields won´t be scraped up until noon today, or best, let it just melt.

My daughter opens her mouth and started to eat the snow that falls on her face. She looks quirky doing it, like a hungry dog waiting for his morning feed. We´ve seen lots of dogs being walked too, so I shouted ” no yellow snow!” you know what´s in it!”

"These elements—cold weather, humidity, and a stimulated trigeminal nerve—combine to create something that isn’t an odor, but a sensory experience you’ve come to associate with snow. That’s why when asked to describe the scent, people often use words like “clean,” “fresh,” and “cold"— a.k.a. things that don’t have much of a scent at all." -Podcast : Physics and the smell of snow

As we reached the footpath of the nearby park, we heard children´s screaming.Its not only us who heard the news. More people are outside , playing and are eager to smell the snow as well.We head on to the field and decided to roll out a snowball. It´s a yearly family tradition. Snow is bound to be rolled, smelled, tasted and turned into something else.

The mighty sun is timid. He never peaked or shined, throughout the day it stayed gray and dark.Almost a melancholic snowy day.I won´t lie that I really get excited when the sun starts to shine, but today is not my day but then, it wasn´t actually bad; at least we´ve got to build our first snowman.

"Snow that falls over a field may smell earthy, perhaps bearing a lingering scent of grass. Snow that falls on trees carries the clean scent of terpenes from the plants, including pinenes, limonene, myrcene, phellandrene, and camphene. So, snow in rural areas smells fresh and maybe even a bit woodsy."

I looked at my daughter and laughed, her suit was totally drenched on the outside and she was having a grand time. She had probably ” smelled the snow” by now!

Until then, Tschüss!

3 thoughts on “Petrichor or the smell of snow?

  1. People think I’m crazy when I talk about the smell of winter. You understand. This was a lovely post and truly took me back to my childhood.

    Like

  2. What an interesting read! So inspiring to imagine you going for a run in minus temperatures and enjoying it, braving the weather like there was nothing to it! 👏 I can’t do it, I just prefer to stay inside and wait for summer… I actually just bought an excersize bike just so I can avoid going out in that awful dark cold! 😆 And that’s probably why I’ve never noticed the smell of first snow!
    Very pretty snow flowers, by the way!

    Like

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