Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Half Hour of Senses

The view of the creek bank from the deck. Salado, Texas

The senses. Most of us learn about them in elementary school. We learn about sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Few of us know what it is like to live without these five senses. Wearing glasses is the closest I come to having a weak sense of sight.
Writers learn quickly to utilize the five senses in every scene plus the addition of the senses of time and space. I've used what I call the "sense of gravity" in scenes.
Recently I had an opportunity to experience the senses in vivid reality during a visit to my uncle's home in Salado, Texas. Salado is one of the most beautiful places on earth in my humble opinion. It is hot this time of year.
Early on the morning of May 29th I slipped out with my first cup of coffee. It was still cool and a soft breeze touched me. I settled on a glider overlooking the swimming pool, the sloping manicured lawn leading to a creek, and a wooded area beyond. It was in those first moments I realized my senses were working.
I tasted my coffee. Sweet and light. The mug was warm in my hands.
I looked at several pots of blooms surrounding the deck and pool. Pansies with smiling faces, red geraniums, pink Vinca, and others I couldn't name enhanced the scene.The scent of roses, buffetted by the breeze, came from somewhere nearby. The surface of the water in the pool reflected the sun and looked like jewels glimmering in the motion.
Roosters crowed from a home down the road. It was morning. The sun was up. I heard my Uncle LeeRoy and his wife, Jeanelle, laughing like kids as they came around the corner hauling a yellow water hose. They were watering the shrubs and potted plants. Their laughter was greater than any song. I suddenly heard a cacophony of chattering. It was a group of cardinals announcing that two bright red males were flying and fighting. I watched as they flew past me and into another tree. I wondered if they were fighting over a female or breakfast.
Closing my eyes I felt the cool metal of the glider on my back. I heard the rushing of the water in the creek. For a few moments I was lost in a feeling where time was of no consequence. I wasn't concerned about helping my aunt prepare for the 60 family members due to arrive at noon. My world was contained in the area immediately surrounding me.
For half an hour I experienced genuine peace. I became aware of the beauty reflected by the senses around me. I prayed "Thank you, Lord, for this special time."


Jess said...

Nice post, Nona. I really struggle with sensory detail in my writing even though I know it adds so much to the story. It's one of the last things I add when I do revisions. I should concentrate more on the senses. Mental note made! Thanks!
You do a nice job telling me what I need to fine-tune.

We had a huge turnout at the BWG meeting today. 40+ with 3 new members. Sure do miss you.

Any chance of you coming 'home' for the conference?

jeanelle said...

We were so delighted that you could come here & receive the peace you need. This last year has been tough. We love you & it was wonderful to see you smiling the whole time you were here. You were almost childlike grasping every opportunity to look, touch, & love everything & everyone. Didn't we have a grand time!!

Jan Rider Newman said...

What a blessed time. Thank you for sharing it so vividly.

Karen Kelley said...

Love this!

Linda Broday said...

It really takes such simple things to bring peace and contentment to our souls. We tend to forget that when we're racing through life, going hither and yon, with barely time to catch our breaths.

I confess I fall short when I try to invoke the five senses into my writing. Sight is mostly what I find myself using, but that doesn't do my stories justice. Thanks for reminding me to add more of the other four senses.

Chris Baldauf said...

Hey, Nona, I like the blog. I'm doing research because I'm trying to create one, too. Mine is meant to be a marketing tool if I ever get published! Looking good. Happy posting and I hope you can make it to the conference in Nov.