Several years ago I witnessed something that just about made my toolbelt loose its grip. My longtime friend Painter Girl and I entered Lowes one day to find a few parts for something I’ve long since forgotten the details of. You’re familiar with Lowes, right? How it’s laid out? So here Painter Girl and I walk down that wide channel betwixt the registers and the store aisles and I gander a look over at her while I’m talking about something or other. (It would seem I love to talk. That’s at least been pointed out to me a lot lately. Huh.) Anyway, there she is, in another land inside her head that I have no entry to, enjoying the entrance into her secret world like you’d expect a time traveler revisiting an age where surely their lover is, and they simply can't wait to find their mate. I was really shocked to see Painter Girl like this. I’d never witnessed such abandon from her before. It brought me to a stop right there in the middle of that front row. And that’s when it hit me. And I voiced it too, I said, “OMG! Painter Girl! You’re breathing this place in, aren’t you? The smell of the air, it revitalizes you and excites you, doesn’t it!” Smiling, she nodded her head. I gasped and sputtered, “You have an industrial fetish!” And of course she was busted and admitted to it all right there and we laughed like crazy.
Now, as a result of that experience, I had to admit that I have my own secret love hidden away for something completely different. (Because… don’t tell anyone, okay? But here’s a little secret of mine…..I’m not actually allowed to have anything to do with tools and such. I tend to um….break things or blow things up. But shh! It’s our little secret, okay?) Anyway, I should thank Painter Girl for opening my eyes to the intensity of that passion she showed for her hardware goods. Because now I’m aware that I have an intense sensual awareness of something too. You know what it is. I shouldn’t have to tell you. But I will….in a bit.
It’s a funny thing, the things we take a liking to. Pastries, wirings, photography, sculpting, fishing, and all of the other varieties of random human interests. The interesting thing about it is that they all give off something….a sensory something-or-other. Think about it. If you’ve had experience with fishing, you certainly know the smells of bait and the sharp feel of a hook. Wires have that cold glossy feel to them, winding around your hands and fingers just waiting to be shaped and molded or connected to something useful or beautiful or to stick the bejeezus out of you! The feel of dough in hand is altogether different from the feel of clay. It has the smell of butter and the warm feeling of home and family that give us anticipation of what yumminess it will become. The smells of chemicals in developing photography film is unique as well (Yes, people still use real film.). Even the tactile feel of a computer keyboard is particular to some. We are all vastly different one from another and our likes are just as diversified.
So I have to ask you, what is it that takes your breath away when you encounter it? Is it painting or driving through the mountains or digging in the soil of the earth? What of shopping or looking up into the night sky at the vast landscape of twinkling lights, or seeing the neon colors of the ocean’s underworld? Anything can be the thing we take the most pleasure in in life. But what that pleasure is exposes something about our character, our soul, our essence. It’s what we love and appreciate and it’s a look at a part of our true identity.
So I’ll let you in on my own senses-aware-hankering. Like I said, you already know what it is. I promise it won’t come as a surprise. You might even have this one too. But as I walk into a book store or stationer’s shop, I, like my friend Painter Girl, will take in a deep breath to infuse my soul with that thing that inspires me and makes me feel good. It happens in libraries and office supply stores too. It is paper. I love the smell of it. I love the feel of it. I love its sound as it brushes against the tips of my fingers when I turn through a book. And oh how I love the many different patterns and designs it can be shaped into, whether handmade or machine generated, glossy or newsprint, catalogs or paperback novels. I love paper and everything about it.
So what makes you want to breathe in deeply and experience the full range of your senses? Is it food or art supplies, perhaps lace or woolen hats, or even the hay in a barn? Tell me, what do you find that tickles your fancy?