Thursday, February 14, 2019

Five Senses

            Our friend Beth East, a high school Spanish teacher, describes an exercise she does with her students: Identify your favorite:

·     touch
·     taste
·     sound
·     smell
·     sight

This strikes me as a great exercise, even if you are not improving your responses by doing them in Spanish. The process will help us live in the present, something that many believe is good for our mental health, unless you are having a really shitty present. (Of course, all of these sense memories are from the past, but who cares? The Greek philosopher Epicurus taught that contemplation of pleasure is preferable to the experience of pleasure because you have more control over your mind than over externals. So contemplate away . . ..)

            Kim and I will get you started with our lists:

·     touch – Kim’s hair on my cheek
·     taste – chocolate mousse (a Valentine’s tradition)
·     sound – rain on the roof
·     smell – Kim’s perfume (but with my failing sense of smell, I have to get very close to smell it)
·     sight – Torch Lake, as seen from our dining room window. This is not just one “sight,” because what I love is the variety of sights, day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment.

·     touch – my favorite pajamas when I put them on at night (might be one of David’s favorites, too) (Kim tells me she didn’t really say this, that I made it up.)
·     taste – a cup of good coffee with toasted French bread from Bay Bread in Traverse City or Zingerman’s Rustic Italian from Ann Arbor, toasted dark and served with a generous swath of Irish butter and a good cup of coffee: today’s breakfast
·     sound -  my grandfather’s laugh and the song “Wind Beneath My Wings” played for me at my daughter’s wedding
·     smell – cedars when you rub the needles between your palms and then raise your hands to your nose
·     sight – the use of color in nature, or painting, or the walls of a home – especially earth colors. The color palette of my friend and fellow artist Laurie Hitzig’s is just about perfect.

NOTE: I’m supposed to be the writer, Kim the artist, but her list is better than mine!

            O.K., now it’s your turn. Let us know your choices, which may be published next week. If you want your name left off, can do.


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