The tall sun-lit maple blows in the wind, its red and gold leaves turned inside out and backwards, glowing against the purple-black storm clouds in the distance. Boats dance on the deep blue waves of the nearby water, their stark whiteness in contrast to the rich, saturated hues of the nature surrounding them.
Everywhere along the waterfront, autumn flowerbeds of gold and purple and red overflow, spilling onto the still-green grass of the boulevards.
The wind is soft and sweet, bringing with it the smell of damp earth, fallen leaves and fresh grass.
A mother walks through this landscape with her son. They rhyme poems together and talk about their own special secrets. She watches him as he laughs, as he reels off lines, as he considers something seriously, as he earnestly explains the rhythm to a song that is tumbling through his head.
His beauty, the soft fullness of his cheeks, the golden flecks in his eyes, the bow of his lips, all that is him captures her heart again and again – she is bound to him through their shared past, their entwined future, their bloodline which is written on his face.
Something he says makes her laugh, a deep laugh from within, and they grasp hands, running for a while along the water’s edge, thinking of nothing but the feeling of the fresh air and the warm hand they each grasp tightly.
If for a moment she could choose one sense over the rest, it might be sight. For to behold nature, the stars in the night sky, the small, up-turned face full of love, and the beauty all around them, is to live in the spirit of poetry. It swells her heart to greater effect than anything else possibly could.
Touch, too, she could not do without. Though it is not the same rapture, bliss comes from the feeling of a little hand, of that little boy curled into her, of the breeze, of hot sand under toes and cool water swirling about, of her husband’s caress, the feeling of his cheek against her hand, of a friend’s warm hug.
Hearing’s value lies in its connection to sight; the sound of the leaves as they blow, the sound of the waves as they crash, the sounds of a boy’s voice as he chatters and sings and laughs.
The sense of smell deepens an experience, layering memories and sensations and a certain richness onto the things we see, touch and hear. The smell of the sun-drenched earth, the particular scent belonging to the person drawing close, the scent of rain as it patters down all around. It is a wonderful luxury.
Finally, taste. Taste is separate, although it is fed by smell. The taste of a perfect cup of coffee, dark chocolate, a rich red wine, the finely combined flavours of herbs and spices and fruits and meats – taste is a different type of poetry. In the same way that disappearing inside your own thoughts brings you to a different type of nature-induced rapture.
But, looking at this innocent, happy boy zinging by upon the vibrant canopy of nature, the solitary poetry of taste, while beautiful, cannot compare to the wonder of sight.
Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt: If you were forced to give up one sense, but gain super-sensitivity in another, which senses would you choose?
More thoughts on the senses: