One thing I always loved about Arizona was how good it smelled when it rained. Growing up, I didn't realize it was anything special; that's how rain smelled, it was all I knew. Then, returning to Arizona in 1995 for the first time after moving away back in 1993, Dad pulled his truck over an hour or two out of Phoenix. We took a break to stretch, and I looked out at the mountains, where it had just rained. A breeze brought to me that familiar scent, this time in stark contrast to what I had become newly familiar with.
So, still, for years I never knew why it smelled different. Perhaps some magic of the desert, or a product of reminescense, of wanting it to smell good and different.
But, alas, I've got it, and it's due to a common shrub called Creosote. The plant has thick, waxy leaves that hold moisture and give off a pungent, sweet smell when it rains. They are common in the desert and can affect the smell of the local region after rains.
Though ugly, I'd like to have one in the backyard, to go with the nice-smelling fig tree we have.