I have actually given this one a lot of thought and not just in response to today’s prompt, but in general. However, only to the extent of losing a sense as opposed to exponentially increasing another. So before I discuss which I feel I could live without, allow me to explain my reasons for not wanting to lose any of the others.
Sight. This would be the most obvious one for me. As a photographer and artist I am arguable heavily dependent on the ability to see. While I have seen the work of others artists who are visually challenged, being as passionate as I am about seeing and visually experiencing the beauty around me is something I could not live without. For me it is as essential to my being as my heart or brain. I could not fathom being unable to see the majesty of Glacier National Park, or appreciate the serenity of a vast field of wildflowers. It is incomprehensible.
My second love, for which I possess no discernible talent whatsoever, is music. I love music!! It has been an escape for me ever since I can remember. When I was in my early teens I used to have this gigantic turntable with removable speakers. I would go in my room, turn out the light, put on a record, detach the speakers and put them on either side of my pillow so I could really immerse myself in the music. Even then, I wanted to absorb it on a deep level. You can only imagine how my mind was blown when I got my first Walkman!! I would spend hours riding my bicycle in the mountains or just walking around town with my music playing. Not the safest thing in the world, but it was a different time then.
Among my favorite subjects to shoot are flowers. In as many colors, shapes, sizes and patterns as they come, their variety is equally vast in terms of scent. And that is just one of a multitude of categories. Men’s cologne! Who does not love a guy that’s tastefully wrapped in Issey Miyake? Or the light freshness of laundry that has hung outside to dry? The scent of the ocean as you walk on the beach on a foggy summer morning as the sun burns through. Not to mention how the fleeting scent of my late grandmother’s perfume can bring back a rush of wonderful memories.
When I think of touch, an ocean of thoughts come to mind, not the least of which being the first time I held my daughter in my arms and she wrapped her tiny hand around my finger. Or the feeling of her hugs when she now comes home from college. Studies have shown that touch is essential to growth and emotional sustenance and if I were to imagine not being able to feel my daughter’s embrace, or the loving caress of my husband, I think my existence would be extremely barren and sad.
So by now I am sure you have surmised that taste is the one sense that I feel could live without. Don’t get me wrong, I totally love food. Chocolate mousse that melts in your mouth. A medium rare filet mignon with a dollop of garlic infused butter dissolving on top. Did I mention chocolate? Rich, dark, Belgian truffles with every manner of filling. Oh the possibilities and food choices are endless! Therein lays the problem. I love food, but it loves me a lot more, particularly now that I am pushing 50! For some reason it seems to think my body is a safe haven in which to hide. So as much as I adore delighting my palate every chance I get, I think if I were not able to taste it, I would be less likely to overindulge and, thus, I might actually reclaim that figure I had in high school.
So about that super-heightened sense, I honestly don’t think I would want one. I imagine that an extreme sensitivity in any one of those would result in sensory overload. I know for me there are certain smells that can spark a migraine in a nanosecond and I am ridiculously sensitive to being tickled. Similarly, and I am not sure if this relates to conditioning or PTSD, but loud noises totally freak me out and unnerve me. Picture a cat after a loud firework has gone off outside. Yea, that kind of sensitive. That leaves only sight. In my mind, being a photographer, jacked up sight might look something like super saturated color, extreme sharpness or epic contrast, which might too spark a migraine. However, if it were more like my artistic eye becoming super tuned in to visualizing the ultimate compositions, then maybe I could get onboard. Otherwise, I could leave it.