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Ancient Codes in the Air

Ancient Codes in the Air In the ocean’s waters, microbes, half a million per teaspoon, pump dimethylsulfide into the atmosphere: the smell of the sea, which helps seed the clouds that roll inland. On the plains, in the mountains, even in cities you can smell a blow coming, ozone’s sweet electric tang riding the downdrafts. Petrichor post-precipitation, redolent of alcohols and fatty acids, a freshwater cue to spawning. After, a musty earth whiff of geosmin, metabolic byproduct of expired bacterial bodies, aid to camels seeking life in bone wastes. In Australia’s Western Desert, the first rains mingle odors of eucalyptus, dung and dust, bring game and bloom the landscape. Aborigines perfume with organic fats, protective and cleansing, linking to ancestors. Flooding memories smell of rain. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment Oxford University Press

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
1076-0962
eISSN
1759-1090
DOI
10.1093/isle/isy025
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the ocean’s waters, microbes, half a million per teaspoon, pump dimethylsulfide into the atmosphere: the smell of the sea, which helps seed the clouds that roll inland. On the plains, in the mountains, even in cities you can smell a blow coming, ozone’s sweet electric tang riding the downdrafts. Petrichor post-precipitation, redolent of alcohols and fatty acids, a freshwater cue to spawning. After, a musty earth whiff of geosmin, metabolic byproduct of expired bacterial bodies, aid to camels seeking life in bone wastes. In Australia’s Western Desert, the first rains mingle odors of eucalyptus, dung and dust, bring game and bloom the landscape. Aborigines perfume with organic fats, protective and cleansing, linking to ancestors. Flooding memories smell of rain. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)

Journal

ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and EnvironmentOxford University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2018

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