I have in the past extensively described how much music means to me. How essential it is with the sound of a melody, in order to make me relax or to just have my thoughts wander in time, initiating a cascade of memories streaming back.
Likewise, there is something very comforting when hearing that someones familiar voice, a sound like no other, to sooth ones soul. Or the laughter of children, the play of a water stream, the singing of birds; it is all so vital to us.
As is the ability to scent familiar scents, whether they are natural or man-made elixirs, that bring on pleasure and relaxation, taking us back in time to places and people we once knew.
The other day I thought about the magic of a touch.
I know first hand how it is to experience lack of it on daily bases. Having a long distance relationship, I feel the absence of someone dear to me constantly. Occasionally, it can bring on emotions of sadness and melancholy and I can only find comfort in the notion, that I am not alone in this situation. I often think of the wives and girlfriends of soldiers or sailors, that are forced to be without their loved ones for weeks, months, perhaps years at a time. Additionally, some of these women live with a fear I can not even fathom.
Despite it all, my predicament is nowhere that extreme.
So what is in the human touch we so need and crave? It can mean so many things, depending on the circumstances; evoking feelings of intimacy, love, affection, care, compassion, comfort, safety, companionship or friendship, aiding in relaxation or pleasure. Proven even scientifically, the touch is absolutely vital to us. Humans already from infancy need to be held and cradled to develop into healthy adults. There is nothing more comforting to a child, than a mothers embrace. To feel the arms of someone we trust around us gives us a feeling of security and safety.
But of course, there is so much more in the touch. Already as children we use our hands to explore the world around us. How could we even live, if our fingers could not explore the texture of the objects we see? The softness of fabrics, the coolness of water, the caress of the wind, the warmth of a sandy beach. We use our hands all the time, almost in every task in our days to interact with other living things as well as our environment.
The loss and the lack of touch must be as devastating, as the loss of any other of the senses.
Here is my personal list of what appeals to the sense of my touch the most:
1) Clean sheets.
The scent and the texture of clean sheets is incredibly satisfying. Especially if the laundry has been dried in the sun - this combination is unique.
2) Warm sand.
I love the ocean and the beach - I love to feel the warm sand between my toes and through my fingers, while watching the ocean and feeling the sun on my skin. A plethora of impressions to satisfy almost all my senses, nevertheless the touch.
3) Fresh soil.
I have listed this previously as my favourite scent, but the texture of fresh soil is my favorite as well; I often start using gloves when gardening and in the end just discard them while I plant my flowers. The richness of the soil between my fingers makes me feel as close to nature as I can be.
4) The fur of my cat.
I love to stroke him, when he is completely relaxed, lying in my lap. Many articles are published on this subject; apparently stroking our pets have vital benefits on our overall health and extend our lifespan.