This is something I wrote two years ago, recounting an experience. I plan to write more of these, but figured I’d start by looking at where I’ve been before.
After working into the early hours of the morning one night earlier this year, I decided to start the new day with a run through the city. I don’t run outside often in the winter months, but it was warmer than usual this morning. There was a surreal fog covering the city, and I was feeling keyed-up.
There’s a word I learned recently: petrichor. It was coined a few decades ago by Australians, but its root is Greek, and it’s a word that tries to capture the distinctive scent of rain, or as I think of it, the distinctive scent of wet.
So there was a petrichor blanket across the face of Philadelphia this morning, and combined with the novelty of shorts in January and the way the wet in the air seems to cleanse the lungs it was a beautiful running experience. I ran from Old City across Market Street into University City, eventually crossing back into Southwest Philadelphia and through Devil’s Pocket and the still mostly rotting infrastructure disaster zone that is Washington Avenue, especially west of Broad Street. Then through the potent scent of fruits, fish, and unknown foodstuffs of the Italian Market on 9th Street, and back north along Front Street. The blanketing fog had lifted shortly after I began the run, but the scent lingered in the air and still dominate my memory of that morning run.
Every choice involves trade offs. In this case I was glad I decided to go for a cold, wet run through the city rather than retreat into the warmth of my sheets.