One of my biggest experiential wishes is to have tea with Diane Ackerman and, in my wish scenario, we sit for hours while she tells me fascinating stories! Her incredible book, A Natural History Of The Senses, it an absolute must-read for anyone who loves to experience life. All of life is experienced by the senses. We don’t “experience” life in our minds, we see, taste, touch, feel and smell it. This book sheds layers of textured light our senses, diving deep into history and leaping far into futures, spanning the globe and relating small tales that get seared in your mind, they are so beautiful. This book is an outlook-expanding treasure.
While you may learn more from this book than you have in a year (I did!) is not a professorial textbook, its a multi-sensory adventure! Diane Ackerman is partially the coolest science teacher you’ve ever met and one of the greatest storytellers I have ever read. She explains the sense of touch through a story of going to see a palm reader. Interspersed with the science of one’s hand and the art of palmistry, she tells a secondary story that is… touching. In the hearing section, we learn about a group of monks north of Bangkok who run a holistic rehab center and record the “sounds” of the earth and then play them as music to their patients to aid in their recovery. She explores the nature of music as a language… and the wild world of synesthesia where people see music as color or taste food as a physical feeling and all sort of other amazing ways that we uniquely experience the world.
Can you tell I am in the midst of reading this again?! A Natural History Of The Senses…a totally engaging masterpiece of artistic living. Its the book that inspired the Sensory Goodness section of this blog! Each time I read it, I become more actutely aware of fragrance, nuance, light, flavor. My own sensory experience of life is heightened by awareness, and the amazing stories that span the globe. And, on that note, off I go to soak in more beautiful language! xoxo Dana