f Gabe has a sense stronger than the rest, it's his hearing. He has perfect pitch. He can pick up language without having to see it written down. He can mimic accents and speech patterns after only brief encounters with them. He can pick up instruments easily, pick out harmonies, and create beautifully haunting melodies. He can hear very high pitches or people calling from very long distances.
For all his hearing though, his mind wanders and he misses what people say. My mumbling still confuses him, as I don't stress whether something is important or not. He has to try to remember the sounds he heard from me and try to reconstruct them in something that makes sense, often times, he fails, but I love the attempts. There was one time I asked him what he wanted for dinner, and he looked at me in disbelief and declared "You're not fat!" and I thanked him, and asked him what he wanted for dinner again. I should have asked him what he thought I had said, but compliments are so rare from him that I hadn't wanted to spoil the moment.
Gabe declared to me the other day that although my hearing was not as strong as his, my sense of smell seems to be amazing. I can smell the faint traces of pot circulating through the heating ducts a whole twenty minutes before it becomes strong enough for Gabe to smell it. When something goes rotten I'm always the first to track it down.
I love smells. There are smells that have taken me back in time to wildflowers and insects on sunny summer days, running around our house in the country looking for garden snakes. I can recreate feelings and memories by combining the right ingredients. Cardamon always reminds me of christmas. I only had to bake Kermakakku for Gabe once, and the next time he smelt cardamon he looked at me and said "It smells like Christmas!"
There are some scents I want to drown in. Scent that make me feel comfortable, loved, at home. Scents that make me want to protect everything I have in life, to hold fast to it and never let go. These are the precious scents, the delicate ones. I can't drown in them, because these are the scents that are fleeting, that vanish if they are consumed too greedily, if they are handled too roughly.
When I was a kid I always remember the scratch and sniff books and stickers. I remember showing them to friends and then getting paranoid that they would smell all the smell away. That they would sniff it so hard as to rip all the scent out of it and leave none for me. I can honestly say it was somewhat foolish of me to think that way, but not so with the precious scents, the delicate ones. You can smell those all away.
They don't disappear down your nasal passage, instead they are too easily taken over. You find them and stand there and slowly against your will, your own chemistry is already changing the air, changing the fabric, changing the consistency of everything. You don't have to be filthy to be overwhelming. Just being there affects everything. The scientist can never have a completely flawless experiment, the zoologist can never observe animals in their natural habitat, because they've already changed it by being there.
I was once told by someone that my family was the only one they knew where each sibling had their own unique smell. It's true. If I lost my eyes and ears I would still know my siblings by their body chemistry, if not by the way their personalities change the pressure in the room.
There are some things in life that are delicate, and these things usually always end up becoming what is most important to us. These wonderfully small intricate things - subtle, grand, amazing, or simple things - become everything to us. It's easy to get carried away, to consume them too quickly, to overwhelm them simply by our very presence and desire for them.
It's hard sometimes to know what to do. Do you hold tightly and risk ruining them, or do you stand back and risk losing them? Do you enjoy them while you have them and accept when they are gone, or do you continue to seek them out, or deny yourself altogether?
Of course it's not just scents I'm talking about anymore, but I do wonder sometimes whether it's healthy to drown myself in my pleasures, as I so want to do, even if by doing I consume everything too quickly and hold everything too tight. Unfortunately our society is founded on the western religions, which most often seem to believe that all pleasure is sinful, that all these wonderfully delicate things are wastes of time. Rasputin believed that sin was finite, and it was up to the pious to use it all up and save others from hell. Religions can be funny things. I'd like to start a religion of wonderfully delicate intricate things that we all fall in love with. We'll all meet on sundays or thursdays and think about wildflowers and chasing snakes on hot summer days, or that certain smile that sometimes crosses your loved ones' face, or the smell of a shirt, or the feel of rough stubble, or the way hair falls on shoulders and spills down the back, or the way the water crashes against the shore while the birds disappear into the fog, or the way sometimes you want to drown yourself in your pleasures, because, well, what a way to go.
It's not that we're scared
It's just that it's delicate
The universe is sacred, you cannot control it
If you try to change it, you will ruin it
If you try to hold it, you will lose it