far too much writing, far too many photos

Have been thinking about the differences in the way I experience life between here and Madrid. When I think about the daily flow of my day there, the data flow seems principally visual and aural. The other senses play their part, but those two are seem to produce the experience of the day in thinking about it from this remove.

The visuals are a major component here, the local world being so wildly, densely scenic. Sound is big as well, at least at this time of the year with birds bent on producing big warm-season racket and wind in trees and rain falling the way it’s been this last week. But smell is huge. Stepping out the door means being bathed in scents — greenery doing its cranked-up-to-take-advantage-of-a-hideously-short-warm-season thing, flowers in sudden blossom, air so fresh you can smell it.

Lilacs heavy with blossoms practically ooze florally-intense aroma. On certain days, coming from the right direction, the breeze carries the sour, tangy bouquet of manure. Driving into town this morning, rounding a curve brought a blast of skunk from a small black and white corpse at the side of the road. Apart from food-related moments in Madrid, no smell-related memories pack the punch of all that. (Smell is a big-time part of certain intimate interpersonal activities, but not particular to one place or the other. It’s a universal sweaty-funwrestling-odorama thing.)

Smell retreats and sound takes over during trips into town, especially during bouts of café sitting. Music, sounds of food prep., noise of hands on laptop keyboards, conversations. (The conversation thing:: sometimes a pleasure, sometimes a curse. It really depends.)

A couple of weeks back, walking out the kitchen door morning to stand in the yard, I found myself confronted with the huge difference in the sound of wind blowing through bare trees and trees in full foliage. May seem kind of obvious talking about like this, but standing outdoors in the middle of gorgeous nowhere with no urban sounds to mask it, it’s an immense distinction.

And speaking of sounds: two days ago standing in the kitchen, I heard someone speak in one of the other rooms. Just two or three words, loud enough to be heard clearly as a human voice, not loud enough to understand. Walking through the living space confirmed that I was here alone. The only conclusion: the household ghost is active again after a long, long time silent. Last night, me laying in bed, the house quiet: the sudden noise in another room of a door closing. Not slammed, just closed. A short time later, the sound of a light switch being flicked. No one else around — just me, myself and blahblahblah. The house locked up, no intruders prowling about.

I know I can’t expect anyone to believe this without having experienced it, so I mention it as a matter of record. Ignore, poke fun — whatever works for you.


Between bouts of rainfall:

España, te echo de menos

One Response to “senses”

  1. Miriam

    I haven’t been where you are now (Vermont?¿?) but considering the pictures I have seen in this blog posted, I can say you are comparing eggs & bananas.

    If Madrid & Barcelona are also so different and they are 2 big cities in the same country, imagine comparing a big cosmopolitan city with green fields and packed woods with green trees.

    Whatever the comparision results is, I guess I prefer Madrid…

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