D stands for David Abram and why I have to buy his books. Here are some quotes taken from the article ‘Waking the Senses’ which you can find on The Alliance for Wild Ethics.
In defence of sensory experience:
Sensory experience, we might say, is the way our body binds its life to the other lives that surround it, the way the earth couples itself to our thoughts and our dreams. Sensory perception is the glue that binds our separate nervous systems into the larger, encompassing ecosystem. As the bee’s compound eye draws it in to the wildflower, as a salmon dreams its way through gradients of scent toward its home stream, so our own senses have long tuned our awareness to particular aspects and shifts in the land, inducing particular moods, insights, and even actions that we mistakenly attribute solely to ourselves. If we ignore or devalue sensory experience, we lose our primary source of alignment with the larger ecology, imperilling both ourselves and the earth in the process.
On being participants and not spectators:
If we continue to speak of other animals as less mysterious than ourselves, if we speak of the forests as insentient systems, and of rivers and winds as basically passive elements, then we deny our direct, visceral experience of those forces. And so we close down our senses, and come to live more and more in our heads. We seal our intelligence in on itself, and begin look out at the world only as spectators — never as participants.
I want to go out and awaken my senses. Perhaps it is the onset of spring (though more snow is forecasted for this weekend) that makes David Abram’s writings more urgent. Winter is a time of seclusion, meditation, rest, silence. The world is more silent as snow damps all sounds. The air is cool and fresh, but mostly empty of other smells, apart from the kitchen smells of people cooking diner. And the colour has largely been drained from the landscape.
Now the scent of flowers in the house seems overwhelming. And it is impossible to ignore how much more light is coming in through the kitchen window. The songbirds have suddenly arrived on my doorstep. It is almost too much. Fall and winter always creep in, but spring is different. As spring comes, my senses awaken and thus every natural development is felt more keenly.