IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT TO ENHANCE YOUR SENSES.
Memories, feelings and the wisdom of the elderly. A little lesson from the past.
The five senses, hearing, smell, taste, touch and sight is what connects us to the world. With our senses we can interact and enjoy everyday pleasures. The senses are also directly linked to our memories connecting us to moments that we have stored away in our minds. It’s amazing how a smell or song can transport you through time to a specific moment and memory.
Certain senses also invoke all kinds of feelings. For example, when the first cold days of fall arrives you start to crave certain foods, warm teas and cozy evenings at home. The cold of fall evokes a feeling of coziness whereas the warmth of spring gives you the feeling of rebirth and starting afresh. Often I come across smells, foods or things that remind me of my grandmother.
My grandmother was an incredible cook and when you would walk into her house the combination of smells that tickled your nose were infinite. If you closed your eyes you could almost smell each individual ingredient and imagine the journey each took to arrive in my grandmothers kitchen. The tomatoes that were planted deep in the earth and grew reaching towards the sun, turning from green to bright red with every day that passed. The basil that grew along all sides of the garden. The grain that grew under the hot sun and was eventually harvested and ground to become flour and brought to my grandmother.
My grandmother would always tell me that each ingredient had a story and that we needed to honor it by taking care in the way we used it and cooked with it.
Every time I visited my grandmother I always left having learned something new. She was full of knowledge, tricks and tips and stories and I would sit and listen to her for hours. I remember that on one occasion on a cold rainy day she made us a hot tea and we ate her famous chocolate bread pudding. While we were talking I asked her about a set of ceramic bowls that sat on the table. There were three that were all different sizes. The biggest one was filled with fruit, the middle one with decorative baubles and the third with some small candies. She began to tell me the story of how she came to have the bowls, having been passed down to her from her own mother. She remembered how the same bowls sat on the table in the entrance hall when she was growing up. My grandmother taught me that small accessories and decorations in a room can change the entire setting by adding a taste of particularity. She would say “When choosing a decoration for a room try to find something that has a story behind it whether it’s the story of who made it, the design, the material or the origin.
A decoration such as a bowl is not something meant to fill space but add to the beauty of the room and accentuate the environment. When an object has a story and history behind it, it becomes even more enticing. When trying to place objects such as bowls it is best to place it where it is noticeable such as the entrance like in my great-grandmother's house or in the center of a table as my grandmother did. The bowl should be visible so that when guests come to visit they too can admire the piece of art. Often the piece itself becomes the center of very interesting discussions as guests want to know more about the history behind it. If the bowl is used to hold fruit or candy it also becomes a source of attention as guests interact with it taking fruit or candy. It is also important that when choosing such an object one must pay close attention to the design and coloring making sure it complements all the other pieces of furniture in the room. For example, if a room is made up of neutral colors and simple furniture one might decide to choose a bowl that is very colorful or with intricate designs. A bowl, is not just a bowl but can be a piece of art that can add history and character to a room.