Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – May 24, 2004
The Five Senses
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – May 24, 2004 – What a gift we humans were given when our Creator bestowed the five senses upon us. The ability to see, hear smell, taste and feel. I have great admiration for people who have lost one or more of their senses, and prevail as productive, happy individuals. I can’t imagine surrendering one of these treasures, even for a day.
The senses connect us with our world, with those we love, the things we cherish, and ultimately with our own hearts, minds and spirits. Think for a moment about the memories that flood back to you when you recall a person, place or thing that was significant in your life and then remember how you felt at the time.
I have a very distinct memory of being very sick when I was visiting my parents. My mother moved me onto the living room sofa while she changed the sheets on my bed. I had a vile fever and ached in muscles I didn’t know existed. She called me when my bed was ready and I crawled back upstairs. The sight of that comfy bed with the sheets turned back and the pillows plumped and waiting made me cry. I was safe and loved, and my heart filled with gratitude.
I slipped into bed and felt the clean, cool fabric on my skin. The sheets smelled of the outdoors – fresh, fragrant and sweet. My mother came up the stairs humming The Wayward Wind (our perennial favourite). Hearing that beautiful snippet of song made me cry even more. I think the senses are heightened when the body is ill. She sat down by my bed and her familiar presence was quiet and reassuring. She was a sweet, sure ‘constant’ in my life.
She had a glass of cool water with her and she supported my back with her arm as I sat up for a small sip. When I lay back on the pillows, she smiled down at me and said, “You rest now dear, and I’ll check back on you in an hour. If you need me just call”. She brushed my hair off my forehead and the feather softness of her fingers on my skin was a gift from God. I was so ill that as soon as I closed my eyes I was asleep.
When I woke up a few hours later, my mother was sitting beside my bed reading. She didn’t notice that I was awake and I watched her for a few moments before I spoke. I felt so cared for, loved and protected that it was over-whelming. For a fleeting moment I wanted to be six years old again – free from adult responsibilities, decisions and commitments.
Whenever I close my eyes and remember that day almost thirty years ago, my mother comes back to me. I can feel everything about her presence as clearly as the day it happened. The power of the senses to give joy in the present moment is amazing, surpassed only by their ability to bring back memory.
All things associated with the senses may not be loving, kind and beautiful. Memories of pain and sorrow are just as acute as those of love and joy. But we learn by interacting with the events in our lives and if we’re lucky, the lessons get a little easier, as we acquire a greater degree of wisdom. Without the senses life would be diminished. If you had to give up just one of the senses which one would it be? It’s a loss I hope to never face, but if I did, I would be forever thankful that my memory bank is rich with the experiences of my life. Think for a moment about what you remember when you encounter any of the following things in your daily life:
The smell of fresh-baked bread (I think tea and raspberry jam) or the aroma of an apple pie fresh out of the oven.
A familiar perfume or cologne.
The startling beauty of a sunrise or sunset.
Who doesn’t have a memory of rain on a cottage roof?
A lover’s first touch in the morning.
Remembering your heightened senses the first time you made love.
Knowing winter’s chill will vanish as you sit, warm and cozy, in front of a fireplace.
The sound of a favourite song or piece of music, at times unexpected.
A song that brings back the memory of a long ago love.
Watching someone you love celebrate a personal triumph.
The refreshing taste of a cold glass of water on a blistering hot day.
The feel of a hug, especially when you really needed one.
Watching your child take his first steps.
Learning that you were going to be a mother and feeling your child growing inside your body.
Looking out the window at the pristine beauty of the first snowfall.
The sound of laughter.
The whisper of a breeze through the trees.
The first taste of a chocolate birthday cake.
A friend’s calm, reassuring voice during times of trouble.
The warm touch of the sun on a summer’s day.
Hearing “Silent Night” at Christmas.
If you think life doesn’t offer you the opportunity to experience beauty every day – think again. Money cannot buy the gifts of the senses. Learn to cultivate these treasures and you will awaken a part of your soul that longs to know you. Your life will slow down – it can’t be any other way. God gave us these gifts, he simply waits for each of us, in our own time to understand and hold dear their value.
Mike Oldfield – Wherever you are in this world – thank you for Flowers Of The Forest – (I am transported).