There are some 'touches' I make that are disruptive to other people's sense of hearing.
For instance, drumming on table tops is a wonderful sensory experience for me, and since most folks don't have the pristine privilege of getting inside this melon of mine, it can be a tad bit annoying to hear the steady beat of "Roll the Bones" by Shakey Graves, arranged for steering wheel.
I believe that everyone can attest to "The Importance of Touch" which is Chapter 2 in my recurring road trip read, found by Carl in North Dakota, (The Sixth Sense of Animals by Maurice Burton). In a previous post, I touched on all 5 senses and their relationship to animals. I find that the connection between animals, all nature really, and how humans do/should behave, are quite parallel. When given the time and space to bounce back and forth between engulfment in city and baptism in nature, you see alliances that are so beyond our scope of understanding, it is truly humbling.
We have touched trunks of trees that are a thousand years old, our hands have danced across the fur of dogs that bring us some strange comfort of home (shout-out to MIRA) we've brushed up against blackberry bush thorns and prairie grasses, cut our shins on protruding rocks, feet have glided over and sank into mounds of billions of grains of sand, pushed gently on the surprisingly rough backs of starfishies, picked up smooth and stinky whale rib bones, glazed over sharp sword-hilt ferns, poked the squishy exterior of jelly-donut anemones; we've set our fingertips on mountainsides, and grasped our cheeks in Disbelief--meanwhile trying to pull our jaws back up into place.
I awoke early this mornin', beads of cold sweat covering our tent, but my body feeling warm underneath the sleeping bag and layers of fluffy clothing. Cool fresh air hit my face as I began the saunter towards the Farmhouse--gathering some dewy calendula flowers to prepare my Maté with...
the door handles, the teapot, the mug--warm up the fingertips so the cells can feel more.
"In its simplest form, the sense of touch is no more than a general sensitivity in the cells of the skin. More specialized organs of touch are of two kinds; simple, twig-like nerve endings in the skin, and corpuscles (<----yes, good word!) in which the nerve ends in a speck of jelly enclosed in concentric layers of supporting cells. The corpuscles (<----I mean, isn't it fun to say out loud?) lie close beneath the surface of the skin and in ourselves are most numerous on the fingertips, the palms of the hands, and the tip of the tongue."
I can tell you sensory descriptions of all these CORPUSCLES if you'd like...
My fingertips have brushed a whole array of tree bark on this adventure; Douglas Fir-Birch (<----mmm so smooth)-Ponderosa-Larch-Redwood (<----surprisingly soft bark) They've sifted through sand!
Oh! Let me tell you about SAND. So I went out on a solo drive, because even though we have been driving for hours and hours and hours and hours, I felt the need to take a solitary drive and listen to this new album from a lass we met named Ribree. Oh me oh my oh, it is a beautiful record.
I happened upon some sand dunes and took the liberty of galavanting around them barefooted and free-the sound of crashing waves reaching the insides of my body. I lay down on the soft padding of tiny grains, and began to pour it over my legs and arms. It reminded me of cinnamon sugar toast; a staple in the early life of little Abster. Butter, cinnamon, and sugar, It made such a beautiful earth tone color on the toast, and was doing the same as it spilled over my skin. If I had had some butter it would have stuck--but that would be weird. Any who...
I'll do my best to stay on the subject of touch (I'm a bit scatter brained at this leg of the trip) but all of the senses seem to work cooperatively, and can be essential to the others--although more on that in a moment...
I have been attempting to figure out this recurring smell for a few months now--it is vividly in my memories as a child, this particular sniff, if you will. I finally have grasped it!
Rewind a few years; my face buried in a pile of dead leaves, I kept hold of the football!
I was tackled right at the end-zone line, we measured--it lines up with the big tree and the edge of the house-one more smell before I spring up to (humbly) gloat in the faces of the neighborhood boys. Fast forward...
In the Redwoods, with a boy who has become one of my closest confidants and pals, napping in the sun on a rock across the crick,
I smell it again! It is it! Where is it?
I pick up the pile of yellow-golden rotting leaves underneath my feet and inhale the scent. It brings me right back to the moment in time where nothing mattered except for juking out somebody and making it to the end-zone. Sure, other things mattered--but it didn't feel as much.
Back to touch...
"Perhaps we can try to assess the relative importance of the sense of touch along another avenue of inquiry. A person can lose the sense of sight and still lead a fairly full life. The loss of the sense of hearing is equally unpleasant but less of a handicap. Many people have lost their sense of smell, possibly their sense of taste. Helen Keller was born deaf, blind, and dumb, yet through her sense of touch, almost miraculously, led a very full life.
If no other argument prevails, perhaps we can say that the sense of touch is the least destructible of the primary senses because it is sited all over the body.
Eyes, can fail.
Ears, cease functioning, taste and smell degenerate,
But without the total destruction of the body,
Touch still lingers on..."
I'm missing the touch of someone dear to me--actually, many people dear to me.
Sometimes it is difficult to touch those around us--boundaries need be established and respected. But a hug, a touch filled with good intention and love, it's so so nice! Isn't it? It is comfort.
Carlisle and I had the honor to play some traditional Latin American music with Diego and Flavio at the Farmhouse, two talented musicians and men, playing flute and jarana respectively. My fingertips tapped the hand drum, my left hand moving in a wave motion so that each finger contributed some sound to the tunes. My right hand moved around the perimeter of the drumhead, and my bare feet attempted to play the tambourine with its toes--it worked relatively well.
But the embraces received from them as we all departed Arcata, CA and were wished a good path were the most memorable. Not a quick hug, not a Minnesota one or a Norwegian half-assed one...but an extended lock--not disrespectful or past boundaries, but rather an exchange of culture and humanity and respect to the time and experience we had shared together.
Here's to good touch!
(The scatter-brainedness of this post is a result of constant motion and I do not apologize. If you are close to us, pray or think or whatever you do...for our heads to stay in the present moment of the beauty of this adventure that Carlisle and I have the HUGE privilege of being on. We are so grateful for everyone's support and the love of our family and friends. Thank you from the tops of our little hearts...we miss you all and are ecstatic to come home! But, we all know...once we get home, we will be itching to get back on the road...)
See you soon!!