What about those five senses?
Written July 8, 2012
When I started this blog in March I said I would record what my five senses gave me to record. Mostly, for this part of the story, I have written about what I have seen, but now and then a smell or a sound was the focus. The smell of thousands of cows crowded into a small maze of fences mixed with the smell of society garlic in the California Central Valley was one of my nose’s strongest memories.
I also smelled a camellia in Fayetteville, NC just the other day, which reminded me of my grandmother who tended her camellias like they were her children for at least 30 years. And then, finally, when we settled in SC, I smelled the ocean. I knew I was almost “there” when I smelled the ocean. It is subtle and you have to search for it when there is no wind, but the ocean has a smell that gets into your nostrils and stays there for a lifetime if you let it.
The sounds of birds and cicadas and frogs have served as a background for the changing dialects and accents across the middle parts of this country. I was surprised and in awe of the brave little birds that lived in the few trees in the various deserts. They seemed to own the place and made their presence known to all in the mornings and evenings. I never saw these birds, just heard them. And I remember one night in Alabama when I was walking the dogs and I heard a drone that was familiar but slightly disturbing. It was like a symphony of competing insects making that sound that grasshoppers and frogs make when they are looking for a mate. My ears couldn’t even begin to count the number of different tones coming from the trees and ditches. Since that night, the noise has never ceased.
I can only recall one or two memorable tastes—a fruit and veggie drink that I made with spinach and strawberries and apples and carrots, and the taste of my first real, fruit stand peach. Unbelievably sweet and juicy, even with the fuzzy skin still on. We ate out a lot and quite a bit of it was very good, but there is simply nothing quite like a homemade meal from fresh ingredients. That is something I look forward to in the near future.
And my sense of touch, well what stands out is the feeling I had last week when I finally put my feet into the Atlantic Ocean. The beach was quiet. There was no wind. It was extremely hot. The waves came in gently, as if they weren’t sure how much farther they could go without flattening out. It was perfect for our first time in however many years. A gentle, slow moving thin sheet of salty water flowed over our feet and engulfed them in smooth warmth. All 20,000 of my nerve endings opened up and began to breathe again. For one brief moment I was in heaven. My feet sank into the sand with each new wave and I felt the warm salty water creep up my legs toward my calves. Had it not been over 100 degrees outside I might have stood in that water on the edge of the ocean for a whole day. But the sun was giving me a strong warning to not toy with him on this day. I listened and retreated to the shade of the palm trees, promising myself to come back another day when it wasn’t so hot.
For this last month, my senses were open and alert, and I had the luxury of really paying attention. It was as if on that first day of leaving the campground in Oregon, I woke up from a long nap and could see with new eyes and hear with new ears. My nose was ready to be filled with the scent of ocean air, and my taste buds and finger tips ready for something new each day. I am so glad that I WOKE UP and that I PAID ATTENTION. What a gift to have given myself.
My wings may still be bent and uncertain, but, in time they will take me to exactly where and what I need to be.
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