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A night of sensory thoughts 24 June 2009

Posted by The Inimitable M in Life.
Tags: , ,

This entire blog is going to be about sensory experiences and my observations.  You can stop now, if you want, because I kind of go into my Aspie-ness when I do this, though I will completely avoid the scientific logic so your eyes won’t completely glaze over.

I left the university in front of an incoming storm tonight.  I could feel the difference in temperature right away, as it had gone from 94 to 82 in the span of a heartbeat – not to mention a heat index of 107 plummeting to a mere 85.  Though the actual humidity had dropped, I couldn’t smell the rain yet, but I figured all that humidity was sucked up into the vacuum-clouds.  I could see them starting to turn.  Beautiful, majestic, thick white clouds began to tinge with grey, then became beautiful, majestic thunderheads, full of moisture. 

I hate driving through the city and watching these things, because during rush hour traffic is heavy, and it’s highly unlikely anyone else is watching the clouds like I am, so they’d hit me.

I’ve learned discipline.

I was diverted for a moment by a smell that had crossed the road in this same spot a few times, but finally realised why it was so familiar to me.  I drive along L Street in South O to the South O bridge across the Missouri.  This road takes me near a slaughterhouse.  The smell was that wet iron smell.  Animal blood.  To me, it smells different from human blood, and with these cows, it is very evident they were confinement cattle – you can smell the feed, not in the air, but in their blood.

That was what it was, for me.  The feed used for cows, while injected with this and that for their “health”, is not much different from dog food.  Jack eats Beneful, and that same company makes certain brands of cattle feed.

So what I was smelling was blood, similar to what I smell, unfortunately, when Jack has problems with his feet, his bladder (the cancer thing), and those damned problems with his teeth.

I suppose that was why I was comfortable with it.

I assume you’re all grossed out now.

Back to the storm.

My observations when I finally got across the bridge and away from people were that this gathering storm had turned into a wall of water.  Depending the direction in which it headed, I could be caught in it, or stay ahead of it, or be going in the opposite direction.  It would take just a few minutes to determine that path.  Anyone who knows storms around here, knows exactly what I’m talking about.

I drove in and out of the very thin front edge of it as the Loess Hills road wove around.  The wall was still on the Omaha side.  However, there was another element of darkness to the north, seeming to come southward.  I figured in either case, I was half an hour out from a downpour.  Home was about 15 minutes away. 

The smells, as always, are capitvating at times like these.  You smell the fresh fields, the wet trees, the rain itself…and you start thinking about contrasts.  Okay, I think about contrasts.  Others might not.

My quick observations in that span of 15 minutes are listed below.  I’ll spare you the chemical and scientific reasons for every one of these things, but just know they went flying through my head in complete detail.  There are even scientific reasons for the very last thing…and with all of this, then, I will close:

Air full of rain does not feel like air full of humidity.
Air full of humidity does not feel like air full of fog.
Air full of humidity or fog does NOT feel like the mists in northern Scotland.
Rain on your tongue does not taste the same as snowflakes on your tongue.
Neither rain nor snowflakes tastes like frost.
Ice from the icemaker in your fridge does not taste like frozen lake ice, which doesn’t taste like frozen river ice, which doesn’t taste like icebergs. 

Nothing tastes like icebergs, and once you’ve experienced an iceberg, you won’t forget it.

When you know a weather front is moving through, if you stand outside away from buildings and the like, you can feel the fine line of that weather front – ABSOLUTELY – as it moves over your body, IF you concentrate.

By the same token, if you stand in your nightclothes with your eyes closed tightly 1/4 mile directly south of the Back O’ Bennachie the first week of December and wait for the morning mists to roll down Mither Tap,  you can hear its imperceptible movement as it comes across the field toward you.  You can feel the front line of it touch your body, and it will envelope you.  It will seep into your pores, through your nightclothes, into your nostrils and you will never be the same again.

Mither Tap



1. Barbara Kausteklis - 24 June 2009

I love this. It certainly does grab all the senses.

2. Deb aka St Colette - 24 June 2009

I felt and smelled this blog. I love what you wrote about the difference between a snowflake and rain on the tongue, and the difference between humidity, fog, mists in Scotland. Brilliant!

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