April 02, 2004
Sixteen years ago when I was teaching kids to read and deciding if education was my life’s calling, an essay contest announcement crossed my desk. I don’t recall who was sponsoring the contest but the theme has become embedded in who I am and how I think of myself.
It was a deceptively simple idea. Imagine all of your senses get “stuck” on one input each—you can only hear one sound, see one thing, touch one surface, taste one flavor, smell one scent. What would each of these be and why?
Most of the fourth graders in my classroom wanted to taste pizza “because it is good” and to see TV “because it is fun.” They were sweetly naive. Not a lot of effort went into their essays, but they wrote and submitted them anyway.
Why not have a think about it yourself and leave a comment? I’ll share mine (the same five that I wrote out so many years ago) in the comments on Monday.
Posted by kuri at April 02, 2004 11:53 AM
OK can I have two?
The smell of early summer jasmine on a cool evening at dusk.. I doubt I could ever tire of it.
Summer rain on my skin. (I really do like rain!!)
Sight - The view out my kitchen window. After some thought, I realized that many of the things that make my heart ‘sing’ are seen through the ripped screen above the kitchen sink. Little birds jockeying for position at the birdfeeder, the early morning cardinal, full-pouched chipmunks, a blooming flower (any kind makes me smile), the reallly BIG pine tree, clouds, sky - all of it changes, moment to momnt, day to day and season to season. Yet, all of it stays the same in it’s dependability and I like that in a view.
Smell - The smell of the air after a violent thunderstorm - I think it’s the ozone effect - but that smell, clean and sweet, has a calming effect on me. Maybe it’s the ‘whew’ feeling ‘we made it through the storm, now let’s do something amazing.’
Taste - Lemon is the hands down champion - no doubt - sweetened in a pie or cake or just squeezed onto asparagus or fish. It’s the one true taste for me.
Touch - another human hand - whether in celebration or sorrow, there’s nothing quite like the feel of another hand in yours - even a sweaty one!
Sound - this is a tough one for me - after much thought - my own laughter
While I won’t pick a sense, I will mention the Infocom work of Interactive Fiction _Suspended_. In it, you are a human that has been frozen as a sort of “emergency backup” brain to operate a city. When some catastrophe damages the automated systems in the city, you wake up (“brain in a jar” style) and can only experience the world through using one of several robots. One of the robots can see, one can hear, one can pick things up with its arm, etc.
Definitely worth playing, if you can find it — it’s part of the Lost Treasures of Infocom set.
Sight: the night sky. Iíve always been drawn to looking up at night. I love the dense black, the diamond pierces, the clouds of light and planets drifting through. Majestic, humbling, constantly moving, eternal.
Touch: holding hands. There is something innocent and intimate about holding someoneís hand. Connections flow through the fingers and the other hand touches back. That is something I could do forever.
Taste: pure water. Neither city-piped rust and chlorine nor plastic-scented bottled water, but water from a mountain spring—specifically the one that bubbled from a hillside 500 meters from my childhood home.
Sound: wind in pines or bamboo. Either will doÖthe grand rush of air and all the little harmonies of leaves and branches. Itís a sound I can almost see. This is the only one of my five that has shifted at all in 16 years. Back then, Iíd never heard wind through bamboo.
Smell: sea air. The fresh breeze off the ocean refreshes and energises. I love breathing deep at the seaside.
In summary, I need to be on a piney sand dune at night with a good friend. That sounds terrific.
I made it all one sensenonsense.