Formal education has a lot to answer for. For example I was taught that there are only five senses (!) when in fact there’s many many more. However, for the purposes of this particular blog let’s imagine the ridiculous possibility that there are only five of which to experience the world. And worst still lets imagine they all happen in isolation of each other. It is not helpful to wonder if a new sense becomes apparent when two are mixed like for example sight and taste. No for this blog imagine there are just five. Thus I have been living with four that's twenty percent less of my senses. But since stopping smoking I have it back.
Tonight cycling home from The Rolex Protégé and Mentor initiative at The London Library I swooped down Angel onto the Regents Canal, and swerve along its towpath besides the flickering black diamond studded scarf of water, and swept through swirls of blue wood smoke uncoiling from restful canal boats. It swirled, whirling through air like long hair underwater as my bike swished through. The Moon lit up the towpath as my reflection rippled along the corrugating canal.
I can smell everything .I can smell everything!! Everything!!!! Senses don’t work in isolation but trigger the others. In a complex rhythm of recognition I am brought closer to the world, through sight and sound. I am a whole twenty percent more in touch with living. I smell the dustiness of autumn leaves and even the aroma of water lifting from the canal. And with the woodsmoke curling through the starlight there's a hint of liquorice almost chocolate to the warm burning aroma and after the smoke I smell the onset of winter as she walks gently and behind her a deeper note, Christmas. What to call this sense where fragrance blends memory?