The senses: touch


Touch is the most intimate sense of all. The whole sensitive skin is played upon, the whole body, braced, resistant, poised, relaxed, answers to the thrust of forces incomparably stronger than itself. Cold spring water stings the palate, the throat tingles unbearably; cold air smacks the back of the mouth, the lungs crackle. Wind blows a nostril in, one breathes on one side only, the cheek is flattened against the gum, the breath comes gaspingly, as in a fish taken from water – man is not in his element in air that moves at this velocity. Frost stiffens the muscles of the chin, mist is clammy on the cheek, after rain I run my hand through juniper or birches for the joy of the weight drops trickling over the palm, or walk through long heather to feel its wetness on my naked legs. 102

Nan Shepherd The Living Mountain (Canongate 2011)


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