And decided I should use the time wisely.
With sight blocked out, I concentrated on smell, touch, taste, and sound. And what a rich panoply to (not) see! I used my cell phone voice recorder to track what I noticed. I’ve jotted them down here as an example of how you might do a five senses exercise yourself.
Sound. Here’s the order I heard things. A jet, far overhead on its way to some important city—yes, it was that quiet that I could hear the jet. A multi-engine propeller aircraft (this one made me get up and look—such are rare around here). Once the aircraft were gone, I heard three kinds of wind. First, the wind as it swept through brush and trees some distance away, sort of mournful. Second, the wind in the trees nearby, more strident. Third, the wind boxing my ears. It took awhile to separate these sounds. A creek, somewhere in the distance, not terribly far away, just loud enough to be a constant noise. Lots of water too—the sound rushed. Finally—and I’m surprised it took this long to stop filtering it out—dozens of birds! Judging from the different calls, many species, too. Several went tit-tit-tit-tit-tit-tit-tit rather rapidly. A mating call perhaps? Lastly, once I’d sorted through all these sounds, I could listen to the silence. A beautiful silence.
Touch. I had to work on this one. I moved my hands around (gloves still over eyes). The first sensation was damp grass. Not wet—just damp and cool. I fanned my hand over the grass and felt the blades tickle my palm. I rubbed a grass blade and discovered one side is smooth and the other side is a bit fuzzy. I concentrated more: My motorcycle clothing (quite new, along with the dirt bike) is extraordinarily comfortable—presumably made that way, very different from street bike apparrel. Oh, and lying on my back and using my Camelback as a headrest, I felt the earth’s coolness, again remarkably comfortable. I could feel the gloves on my face, the sunshine on my cheeks, a little bit of dirt at my fingertips, and, lastly, an ant crawling on the back of my hand (that one made me open my eyes).
Smell. I’m not real good in this category since I’ve never had much of a sense of smell. After considerable concentration, I decided the predominate smell was that of grass, unsurprising since I was lying in a rather lush sample. The vista point has few trees, so I didn’t smell pine or really anything else. But I could smell the newness of my motorcycle garb. All rather subtle.
Taste. No, I didn’t shove dirt or grass in my mouth! But I did eat some cheese crackers (salty, an undifferentiated cheesiness, crunchy) and drink some water out of the new Camelback (plasticky).
Sight. I left this for last because this is where we tend to concentrate when describing a scene. I saw the Cimarron mountains, which you can see behind the motorcycle in the photograph. Ah, the clouds—so dramatic! Fortunately, they were to my east and receding from me. To the west was nothing but sunlight. I should mention the overwhelming sense of green. It’s mid spring here and we’ve had a fair amount of rain, so everything that can turn green has done so. But green was not the only color. Purple, violet, and yellow wildflowers abound. Mostly they’re tiny things, with blossoms about a half inch across. Oh, and the long views—I was at about 8500 feet, so I had views up and down the mountain range. Let’s see, what else. Well, there’s the motorcycle itself (Yamaha XT-250), the gravel (dirt, really), and brilliant sunshine.
So, there’s my little five senses exercise. Referencing several senses is a great way to make your scene come alive. Lay back on the grass, put your gloves over your eyes, and poll your senses. They’ve got lots to say!