Is there anything quite so sweet as biting into dark red cherries just out of the fridge? The juice squirts into your mouth and is proof positive that there is a God. Unfortunately, telltale stains on your fingers make it impossible to lie about the treat you’ve just devoured.
Perhaps your pleasure comes in the form of butter on fresh bread, a juicy steak, or beets and garlic. Good (or bad for you) food can be memory-making, especially when we stop inhaling it and start to savour each bite.
Then there are the lovely smells. Is there anything as heavenly as the scent of garden roses or lilacs as you hurry past them on the way to your Very Important Life? What about the spicy smell of the thyme you accidentally stepped on as you hurried by?
What a joy it is to catch a whiff of your signature perfume when you pull a sweater over your head or wrap a scarf around your neck. Or to smell White Diamonds instead of second-hand smoke when you bend to check a winning card during Bingo night.
Or maybe your favourite scents are gastronomic in origin? Like the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon buns in the mall food court, a smell that grabs you and pulls you in, even though you were on your way to a healthy green salad.
Maybe the smells you remember longest fall into the stench category. Recently I was awakened from a deep sleep by the smell of skunk. I could have sworn the animal was in the room. I pinched my nose and cranked the window shut. I dribbled perfume on my fingers and transferred it into my nose. I rubbed my nose with hand lotion. Nothing worked, and for days afterward I got whiffs of it as I walked around the yard. Who needs quills or venom to deter enemies when your smell could make them drop?
Let’s not forget the feel of fabrics on the skin. It may be the cotton sheets on your bed or the cinching-in power of stretch denim; the soft warmth of a cozy throw on a chilly afternoon or the lacy tease of your best underwear. Better yet is the soft, sweet hand of a grandchild clutching yours as you cross the street.
In this round-up of sensory delights I haven’t forgotten the breathtaking power of Adele’s voice or the sound of birdsong or the babbling of an infant. Even the words ?I love you? or ?I’m sorry? are sweet music to the ears.
Finally we stop our rushing around and look, really look. Our gaze falls on the good, the bad, the ugly. Where we choose to remain, to focus, depends upon how mindful we are in the moment. The same is true for all of our senses. We get to choose our focus, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.