The Five Senses of Understanding

“I need you to hear me…”

It is not the first time I have been told this. I need to hear better, I need to listen to the meaning and not the words. The problem is that I am deaf; literally and metaphorically I cannot hear. My father is almost deaf, and I have been losing hearing in both ears rapidly for several years. It is in every aspect of my life really; music, poetry, anything that is built on the rhythmic frequencies created by compression and vibration. I cannot, as the saying goes, carry a tune in a bucket.

But the thing is that I literally can carry a tune in a bucket. I can collect the notes, place them in the bucket, and see them floating like water in the shadows of the zinc colored recess. I can sew together a broken heart, I can paint with emotions and draw the eye to the lost corner of the canvas where a dab of blue is catching the light in a way that says sadness better than any broken melody. I am filled with images. I am stuck in the visual world, deaf but able to see in ranges outside the visible spectrum. This is my world, the still life of bitter fruit set out on soft velvet you can feel, not with your hands, but with your eyes.

There are other ways to experience the world.

There are those who feel the world and all its bumps and jagged edges. There are those who can taste anticipation and still others who can smell memories more vivid than you or I will ever see with our minds eye. Each person uses his or her senses differently to experience the world. Each telling of what is and what was changes what was and what is.

And yet, here we stand trying to understand, trying to make others understand, trying to be heard by the deaf dumb and blind. It is in this futility, in this desperate need to be understood in spite of the Uncertainty Principles that makes our existence special and all too human.

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One comment on “The Five Senses of Understanding

  1. sassyfrassylassy says:

    I am a memory smeller myself. The smell of oil paint brings me back to my grandmother’s house in an instant.

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