Obscure word doodle #2

These days, my favorite work keeps landing at the intersection of doodles and words. Not that this post was work. This was just plain fun.


I love this word that I didn’t know existed until a couple of days ago when I stumbled upon it while reading. (Coincidentally, it rained that day and the petrichor was sweet.)

I sometimes hear people complain that the English language falls short. They’ll say there aren’t enough words to convey the many ways we love, for example, or wonder why can’t we say “snow” in all the ways that an Eskimo can.

But, seriously. We have a word for the way the earth smells after rain. How beautiful is that?


And speaking of the intersection of doodles and words, over the next few months, I’ll be expanding my Etsy shop to include much more than cards. I’m super excited (and happy and nervous and itchy… though I’m not sure the itchy thing is related). I added a widget in the sidebar to feature whatever is new in the shop, so stay tuned. If you haven’t checked out the new yoga cards, please do. They’re postcards (half the paper of greeting cards = better for the planet), but they come with envelopes so your messages can still be private.



  1. Dillon on May 9, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Incidentally, with my allergies as bad as they are, the petrichor a few days ago was the first thing I’ve been able to smell in weeks. It was delicious.

    • j on May 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Right? Another benefit of rain – tamps down the pollen for a bit so you can actually smell the petrichor.

    • Estrella Azul on May 13, 2013 at 7:06 am

      Hope it got better from there, and you can breathe more easily 🙂
      But that does make for great feedback on j’s post!

      Really like this doodle, j. As much as the petrichor!

      • j on May 13, 2013 at 7:13 am

        Thank you, Estrella! It was a fun one to draw.

  2. Karin on May 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I didn’t even realize there was a word for that smell! It is my favorite smell of all time. If only we could figure out how to bottle it for another day…

    Thanks for sharing!

    • j on May 9, 2013 at 10:51 am

      Me too! I was walking Lexi after the rain thinking, “I love the smell of petrichor!” because now I knew it had an actual name!

      And Lexi was sniffing as if she could not possibly get enough. Clearly, it’s a cross-species kind of wonderful.

  3. fictional100 on May 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I even recall that smell from childhood, when it would stop raining (usually just after supper) and my mom would let me go out and play a little while before bedtime. Ahh, thanks for that memory, and I’ll remember, now, to go out and play again, after the next summer shower. 🙂 ~lucy

    • fictional100 on May 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      And such an adorable doodle! I love the cat happily hunkering down and the flowers and umbrella reaching up! ~lucy

      • j on May 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm

        I love when (sweet) childhood memories come bubbling up like that unexpectedly. Recently, I forget what prompted it, but I remembered how my parents used to set up croquet in the backyard in the summer and friends – of ours and of our parents – would always come over and play. Seems like most nights, there there was a game (or 2 or 3 or 4) always in play. Croquet feels like summer nights to me.

        Thank you for the doodle love! It was fun to draw. I’d had a busy few days. It was nice to sit and happily doodle.

  4. jillsalahub on May 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I didn’t know that word existed, but I totally KNOW that smell!

    • j on May 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Me either! And the fact that it exists? Never let me hear of English’s inadequacy again! You have to love a language with a word for that perfect, universally loved, smell.

  5. Pam on May 9, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    A wonderful word I did not know! I love the doodle.

    I don’t like it when people cast aspersions on English. It served Shakespeare and Ben Jonson quite well, didn’t it? Besides, it’s what my brain uses for fuel.

    • j on May 9, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Good points! And I gotta say. I feel I’ve met the definition of obscure if I pick a word you didn’t know!

  6. Naomi Wittlin on May 9, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    You’re right… I DID smile! Love your doodles and your cards and your site and YOU!

    • j on May 9, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      Yay! I really mean it when I promise. xox

  7. lunajune on May 9, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    wickedly cool word :~) and oh ya it is in the top scents I love… awesome doodle full of laughter love and wonder… just like you <3

    • j on May 9, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Thank you, sweet June! Ireland is just around the corner for you, right? I hope you post many pictures. (Feel free to send me obscure Irish words just for the hell of it.)

  8. paoloterni on May 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Nice word, new to me, to describe a sweet experience. Thank you!

    • j on May 11, 2013 at 11:45 am

      You’re welcome! I wonder why no one knows the word, even though we all know (and love) the experience of it.

  9. Lyn Girdler on May 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I loved that this was your word because, the day after I read this it rained and when I got out of my car I inhaled that petrichor smell and smiled.

    • j on May 13, 2013 at 5:41 am

      Ha! Perfect.

  10. Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) on May 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Oh, that’s a good one! I’ve heard before that when we smell rain we aren’t actually smelling rain. Apparently the human nose works much better when there’s moisture in the air, so when we smell rain what we’re actually smelling is what’s around us all the time — only better. Cool, huh?

    • j on May 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      Smells magnified by the water… sort of like looking at someone’s bottom half when they’re standing in a pool.

      What? I said “sort of.” 😉

  11. Conga line words | on May 14, 2013 at 4:24 am

    […] me in the real ‘doing’ part of life.  Words that bring you into other worlds like Petrichor, or Ghost-living.  Words that make me feel like my real life was that fort I made from […]

  12. christywilsonchristy on May 14, 2013 at 7:57 am

    oh i love petrichor!!!!! thank you for helping to define it (the word and the experience) with your amazing art….visiting you from Julia’s e-course! love your art!!!!

    • j on May 14, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Hello, Christy! We’re twinsies. I love your art too. #lovefest 😉

  13. Nina Badzin on May 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I am ridiculously impressed (and envious) that you are both a writer AND an artist. Your “doodles” are fantastic and I will keep your shop in mind next time I’m shopping for a gift. Or maybe just for myself next time I need notecards. I LOVE your stuff!

    • j on May 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      Aw, thank you, Nina!

      I should doodle you a “Don’t look!” picture to use as your iPhone wall paper. 😉

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