The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE: Touch…
My hand moves out and … I have the touch. – Peter Gabriel
I try to use my five senses as much as possible. (six if I’m lucky)
I love the smell of Spring flowers (though they make me sneeze) and the smell of something wonderful cooking. I love to see a sunset or sunrise and to see genuine smiles on faces. I love to hear the rain falling and the sound of the wind in the Fall. And I love the taste of something ice cold and sweet on a hot day and the taste of something fresh from a garden they I grew myself.
Those are just a tiny few of things that I use those four senses to do.
Touch gets us through the world.
It brings us closer together. Not only to other people but to the world at large.
Let me give you an example of touch when it comes to my world. I have a small amount of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I can tell you of two things that I MUST touch. The first one is in my downstairs restroom. It’s the place that I usually brush my teeth and answer the call of nature. It’s a very small restroom with just enough room for a toilet and a sink in a cabinet. Next to the toilet is the corner of the cabinet top with the sink. Every time I enter the restroom, I have to rub that corner with my left thumb before I do anything. I’m not sure why I picked up this habit but do it I must. I usually wake up early in the morning to get ready to go to work and even in my sleep-walking coma, I still have to touch the corner.
The second thing that I must touch is when I leave the bedroom. My wife has been really sweet and lets me place a few action figures in various places. She knows I’m a nerd and loves me for it. One of them is a large twenty inch Chewbacca from the Star Wars movies. He stands guard on my nightstand. Before I leave the room, I must touch his head. I think it started out as a joke. I didn’t want to tick off Chewy. Then I got into the habit of touching his plastic head. Now, every morning, I have to do it. But only once a day. If I go back into the bedroom and leave again, I feel no need. Maybe subconsciously I have a fear (a dream) that he’s really alive and I want him to know I’m his friend, that we are his friends. I don’t want him to pull our arms out of their sockets.
Why must I touch certain things as if they are some life-giving touchstone?
I have pondered why I do this. I have wondered why when I walk in the woods or on a fitness trail at a park why I must touch certain trees. I have wondered why I must feel the surface of different objects, whether they are rough or smooth, especially if they are smooth.
And I have come to one conclusion.
It’s to feel a connection with my surroundings. When it comes to large trees, I wonder what they have lived through. What were they around as they grew taller and grew one ring after another? A few I have noticed and wanted to share in some of its histories by putting my hand on its trunk may have been around during the Civil War. Since I live in an area where the Civil War once raged, I wonder if some Union or Confederate Soldier stopped to rest by that tree. Did it give him a place to put his back against as he caught his breath? Did it give him a barrier between him and his enemy?
Who knows? But I like to think that maybe it did.
I put a lot of belief in the power of touch. When I see a dog or a cat, I want to pet it. I want to stroke its fur and let it know I’m a friend. Most of the time when I’m lucky enough to find a furry friend, I can let it know that it has nothing to fear from me. The power of touch is the only thing that will do that.
And touch speaks volumes. The first time I touched my daughter after she was born. She was so tiny and premature. When I was able to see her in that open-aired, heated incubator, I reached out and touched her little hand. It was so small and delicate. I gently touched each finger. Then I touched her head. I felt the wisps of her fine hair under my touch.
My world imploded and exploded and was still. Things came into focus after that touch. She had become my world. Not just the sight of her or hearing her cry after she was born. It was the connection in the touch.
We go day after day touching things that have been touched by other human beings. That sounds a bit disgusting when you think about it. And it should. As human beings, we are all pretty disgusting.
But interaction and touch with other people make us who we are. Unfortunately, we have to take the bad with the good. We really can only control what we do. And maybe our example will show those that use touch as a negative to change their approach and make it a positive.
One can hope, anyway.
I urge you, once you read this, to go touch someone’s hand (it might help that’s somebody you know… don’t want it to seem weird) and make a connection. And if you are so inclined (and you give them a choice and some warning), maybe go hug somebody that might need it.
And maybe if you’re in the mood, go take a walk in the woods. Go say HI to a large tree and connect with it. If you’re lucky, it might talk back.
Or give you a splinter. Either way… that’s a connection.
August, 24th 2018
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.