Most people neglect their senses which makes no sense to me. This morning in my quiet time for thinking I was intensely aware of the sounds near me and I thought I would start a list of sounds in nature that I love. I then thought, ”why stop there?” How about other sounds made by humans? How about sounds you hate? How about the other senses: Touch, smell, taste, and the most used one (unless you are blind), sight. This got me to thinking about some of my friends and acquaintances who are missing one or more of their senses. I am grateful that I have my senses and I am aware and focusing on them.

It can be argued that there are more than five senses. Proprioception (body awareness that tells us how much strength to use for a task, for example) and the Vestibular sense which gives us information as to where our head and body are in space. I learned about these senses from Occupational Therapists in my career working with children with Autism, but these senses  are also useful and necessary in helping music students with the ergonomics of their instrument.

 For the sake of this essay/ set of lists I will deal with the five main senses and I will limit my lists to a top ten favourites, although within each category there are subsets and subsets of subsets…. oy, what have I started?

Sounds in nature that I love.

I love the sound of water…. not so much inside the house where it can signal a leak or a run on toilet etc.

The gentle lapping sound of a lake on the shore, on a moored boat, a dock etc. puts me in a calm and happy mood.

The powerful cymbal crashes of an ocean’s waves reaching a beach like in Cancun or rocks like at Peggy’s Cove, N.S.

The placid calm of a river’s stealthy flow or the roar of fierce rapids or a waterfall

the babbling of a brook

Then there are the different sounds of rain: gentle rain on differing surfaces, steady pouring rain, the tattoo of hail. 

Thunder-all kinds

Birds all have unique sounds. Here are some that I love:

Honking geese high overhead in v’s… usually signalling a change of seasons. The sad departure signalling the impending arrival of our long winter or the delight and hope of their arrival in spring.

chickadees, song sparrows, Blue Jays, crows, the white throated sparrow. mourning doves, kookaburra laughing. woodpeckers pecking, red winged blackbirds

I love the sound of wind in trees both coniferous and deciduous …the cracking of sap freezing.

I love cicadas, crickets, bullfrogs, galloping hooves, wolf howls (distant)

Man-made sounds that I love (aside from music…another category)

I love most train sounds… the clickety clack of wheels, the grinding, searing sound of switching tracks, a lonesome whistle in the distance ,  steam locomotives hissing, chugging.

zippers make a pleasant sound…Metal Zippers have a great sound both opening and closing. Plastic ones, not so much.

Car tires on a metal grate bridge deck. The Victoria Bridge in Montreal was built in 1860 to accommodate trains. It was the first link between the island of Montreal and the mainland. Built for trains. In 1899 the part that one could drive on was opened. As a child, I looked forward to visits with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Hemmy who lived in St. Bruno on the South Shore. We took the Victoria bridge even though there were several other faster routes in part, because my dad loved the sound as well.

air being let out of a tire or a bottle of carbonated liquid being opened are distinct sounds that please me.


wood being chopped 

park swings

the sound between stations  while dialling on an old tube radio.

empty churches

languages that are different from mine

Sounds I  hate 

velcro adjusting sounds like someone gathering phlegm in order to “gob”.(spit).

powered garden tools

60 cycle hum fluorescent lighting ballasts

any unwanted sound in a mic while recording.

microphone feedback

worn disc brakes

vocal fry

yelling,whining, patronizing

a needle dragging across a vinyl disc…also unwanted pops and clicks and click repeats…. I don’t mind these sounds in hip hop music, however. So, unintended

smells I love

peeling cucumber

slicing watermelon

camp fire

cooking curry, bbq, frying onions, bread, cookies, cake

vanilla stuart factory where they made cakes Laurier street

cooking with butter

baby shampoo 

Nathalie’s perfume

froesias- especially yellow ones.

smells I hate

cooking smells on clothes toaster, fried food, curry


pig/ sheep manure

stepped in dogshit. picking up poop with a bag is ok, except when the poop is “smooshed”. 

cigarette smoke first hand/second hand Has always been gross to me. As a child I had a friend whose clothes always smelled of stale smoke

stale breath…sour alcohol breath smoker breath, garlic hot dog burps

marigolds. They look lovely and last forever, but their scent is kind of sickly.

wet grey flannel pants. So sour smelling.

gasoline. -Oddly, I like the smell of Gasoline, but hate it on my hands after filling the tank.

touch I  love

the feel of real fur coats in the hall closet

cold smooth pebbles on my skin

the touch of my father’s stubble at the end of the day

the first tentative kiss before the heat.

velvet, satin, corduroy both wide and narrow

flannel sheets

smooth planed wood.

touch I hate

tin foil on metal filling.

putting on cold or wet, or cold and wet clothing.

emptying a pumpkin or a Turkey cavity

even the thought of someone touching my collarbone

tastes I  love

well toasted crumpet with melted butter and marmalade.

Fresh baguette with salted butter and honey

ripe in season cherries


the cracklings on my mum’s roast beef

This list is by no means exhaustive, but if it makes you, the reader think about your senses or evokes similar visceral memories I am glad you have finally come to your senses.

One thought on “A Senses Census

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s