Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sehora - Beginnings of Selmari

Sehora. This is my word, I created it many years ago and it is a big part of why Selmarea exists (and its language Selmari) and what got it started. Sehora was a word created by me and now used regularly by my mother and me to describe the scent of the rain after a long period of dryness.

For as long as I can remember I have loved the smell which comes with the first drops of rain after a long period of dryness. My mother has always taught me to appreciate and marvel at nature and I grew to love the scent which made us forget the dryness and pause for a short time, turning our faces to the lovely scent which came along with the start of the rain. I always feel relaxed when that moment comes and if it's been dry for a while and begins to rain I stop what I'm doing, if only for a few moments, and for a short while the world around me pauses whilst I drink in that scent.

Given that I live in Australia it is often quite a dry place to live and so it is not uncommon, particularly in the summer months, for that scent to emerge when the rain begins and as I grew older I became frustrated that I couldn't describe it. It was one of the first times I remember having something I wanted to name but couldn't because the word didn't exist. Given my frustrations and love of the scent it's no surprise that when I began creating my own language (I had no idea it was an official trend nor that it was named conlanging at the time) it was only natural that I create a word for that first. And so I did and 'sehora' ('se' as in 'second') was born. Somehow it had that soft sound which the scent always induces for us, for we always stop when we smell it, pausing until we've drunk in the lovely scent and turned our faces to the cool wind whilst we try to smell it even more, and yet it sounded like the Sahara desert, invoking that dryness which was now gone, forgotten at least for that moment.

At first the word was strange, uncommon, and felt odd to say, like trying out a new language phrase you've learned and fearing you'll get it wrong. Now, at least to my mother and I, it is as natural as saying 'hello'. We use the word easily, thankful to have something to describe something we both love, adding it to the dictionary in our phones so we can send a text and not have it "corrected" to something else.

Personally I like the word a lot better than the official one which appeared in a Dr Who episode several years ago (oddly enough also created by an Australian). Somehow 'petrichor' doesn't invoke the same feeling and makes me thing of petrified wood, somehow missing the life that seems to be emerging when the rain comes after that time of dryness, nature drinking in the water the same way I try to drink in the smell which accompanies it. It's probably an ego trip but we'll stick with mine. Sehora will be my word from now until the day I pass from this earth (hopefully not for many decades) and it will always hold a soft spot in my heart. Thanks to that word Selmari was born and even if I never create another word in my whole life I will always have that link and that secret description I can share with my family and friends.