I grab the wooden handled wire tool, wrapping the thin wire twice around my fingers, and feel it press into my skin as I cut my wet pot from the wheel. I have dried clay cracking around my wrists and wet clay between my fingers. As I slap a new mound of clay on my wheel I can feel it give way and change shape. I throw the walls of my next bowl and my outside fingers mimic the opening motion they can feel of my inside fingers.
The sense of touch is a huge part of a potter's life. While everyone "feels" everyday, a potter's livelihood rests in a heightened sense of touch. A sensitive yet firm grasp of what is happening with your hands is essential.
This appreciation of touch was brought home to me when my sister, my niece and I sat together watching a documentary the other day. At one point in the film, a woman walked through a beautiful stone arched veranda in Paris. The camera panned over an immaculate garden full of trimmed hedges, brightly colored flowers, and rich green grass. The woman's hair, frizzy and red, made the colors of the flowers pop and both contrasted beautifully with the stone arches and gray, rainy sky. My 3 year old niece's immediate reaction to this gorgeous scene was, "Mom, can we go there for I can touch it?" And then added, "I want to touch it so I can feel it."
So human and so real! She wasn't just content to sit on the couch and see the scene before her, she wanted to envelope her senses in it, to truly experience it by touching the stone or wet grass or frizzy red hair. This desire is one that so many of us don't realize we are missing in our world of life on screen. TV and computers have made it possible to experience a vast amount of the world previously privy to the rich or well traveled. But this innocent sentiment of a 3 year old made me think. We should not be content with duo-sensory (did I just make up that term?!) experiences on screen, overdeveloping our hearing and seeing senses. We should seek out true full experiences for ourselves as well! We should be conscious of how each sense absorbs particular circumstances during the day. I believe that in developing and titillating all five, life will take on an extraordinarily satisfied feeling of fullness.
How have you fed all five of your senses today?