64- Touch

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I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I feel the firm sand with each step. My feet enable me to distinguish degrees of wetness – yet, I cannot feel individual grains of sand – but I do love the water’s smooth caress. Ahhhhh … the sense of touch.

As I walk, I can tell when I step on a fine gritty layer of fine shells – or when I step on a single shell. My eyes tell me to slow down and be careful as I cross a dense area of shells – or even advise me to detour. Yet, I am impressed how the touch on the bottom of my feet causes me to retract my step when encountering a shell’s sharp edge. Cheers to the sense of touch.

I think about the sense of touch of my feet when they are not on this beach, but in a sock that’s in a shoe. I not only feel the sock on these feet, but I can also distinguish the inside of my shoe. Better yet, I can feel the floor where I stand, and the bottom of each shoe between the floor and my feet. From plush carpet to wood to tile or concrete, I can distinguish levels of hardness of the floor. Yes, the marvels of the sense of touch.

I think about the sensitivity of our fingertips and how much we rely on them. While the touch sensing ability of the skin on our back is much less sensitive than our fingers, but our lips are even more sensitive than our fingers as noted in a soft, sensuous kiss. Ahhh – the sense of touch.

When biting into an apple or a pear, the sense of touch allows us to distinguish them by differentiating the fleshy textures. It’s the sense of touch allowing the blind to read through the Braille system.

Touch is related to our mood and the situation. Think about the differences between touch in a loving couple while amorous and the “don’t touch me” feeling during an argument.

Touch differs between cultures – let alone among people. Some show touch as an acceptance or appreciation, but others react to touch as an infringement of their space. Those that are tactile-oriented must learn to change because others are not.

Touch, that complex feedback system linking behaviors and emotions. Touch, that therapeutic sign of assurance, friendliness, encouragement, and comfort. Touch, the sense we associate with erogenous.

Of all the senses, I imagine touch is the least researched yet, psychologists approach different aspects of touch, but not its absence or loss.

We can close our eyes to simulate blindness, plug our ears to limit sound, or hold our nose to limit smell – but can you imagine not being able to feel? Can you imagine a life without that sense of touch that protects us? Can you imagine being unable to detect the caress by a loved one that gives us a feeling of comfort? Some are born without this sense – others lose it from burns, neuropathy, and other conditions.

Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy the current feeling the beach gives me because I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

See what other bloggers have written about touch

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65 thoughts on “64- Touch”

  1. What a fascinating reflection, Frank, and you’re right. We don’t hear much about the importance of TOUCH, and yet, it may be the most important sense of all! Oh my, you really have me thinking now. The best way to walk a beach is definitely barefoot. I watch ‘fast walkers’ and runners on my early morning beach walks, wearing their sneakers and high-end running shoes, and I think of how much they’re missing. The squishiness of the wet sand between the toes, the crunch of the tiny clam shells, the cool water on the feet after walking the hot sand. The muddy surf bottom. And that’s only the feet on the beach. As a child I was barefoot three full months of the year – all summer long. I could pick up a tiny shell in between my toes and bring it to my fingers. My feet seem more sensitive now and I wear shoes more often, but if I lived in a warmer climate, I’d definitely be barefoot as much as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      I agree. Compared to the other senses, we don’t hear as much about touch as a sense. I love walking barefoot on the beach – but there are times when I do walk wearing shoes. Such a chore, and finding firm sand is difficult. Even with shoes on, I may end up near the waterline because of its firmness. Cheers to your love for being barefoot!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful talk about touch. I never thought much about how important touch was until I started to lose the ability. My sense of touch is down to perhaps 75 to 80%. That doesn’t sound too awful but when I’m reaching out for something and I cannot feel it, it is difficult to maintain a grip. Something I never thought about before. Now my sense of touch it’s only used in conjunction with my sense of sight. We adapt. Fortunately I still have my memories of what it feels like to walk on a beach, barefoot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Thanks so much for sharing your story about losing some of your sense of touch. It’s something that most of us don’t experience or consider. On the other hand, through our interactions here on WP, I’ve learned that you are also a positive person. Cheers for humans being able to adapt through our brains.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Der Kontakt mit unserem Körper, sei es mit den Händen oder den Füßen, ist sehr wichtig, um unsere Erfahrungswelt zu erweitern. Erst jetzt mit Corona ist es etwas weniger das Problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rudi,
      Helping me out here. Did Google Translator successfully deliver your message? Contact with our body, be it with the hands or the feet, is very important in order to expand our world of experience. Only now with Corona is it a little less of a problem.

      Touch is very important to some people and more accepted in some cultures than others. That has been an interesting aspect of dealing with the coronavirus. I saw a lady on the news this morning who said she is excited to hug her grandchildren for the first time in a year.

      Like

  4. I was just a teenager when we lived in Taiwan but it was something I had to learn quickly – that many cultures – like with the Taiwanese – have a thing about hugging/touching unless invited to or initiated by them. I did go to school in an American school with other service kids there but had to separate that behavior from the school/shopping/around the village behavior. Touching was just considered too personal a thing. Anyway, interestingly I think of all the senses, I could manage without sense of touch more easily than the others. Even as I typed that last sentence I realized that it would be answered differently by most people – I guess it’s partly to do with how we have grown up learning how to use our bodies to experience life. VERY thought provoking post Frank!!

    Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      I knew Asian cultures have a different view of touch than Americans and Europeans – and that’s OK. But I appreciate you sharing your experience. In terms of losing a sense – oh boy – that’s a difficult one to even think about. Glad you enjoyed the walk and thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a conversation I’ve had many times. Which sense would you do without IF you had to choose to lose one. I never thought about touch, but damn . . the idea that I couldn’t feel something, make it tangible? I don’t think I could do without it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marina,
      In these trying times of COVID, we have the limiting of touch with others, and the effect of the virus on smell and taste. That’s 50% of our senses! I saw a news interview this morning with a grandmother who just got the vaccine. She’s accepted to be able to hug her grandchildren for the first time in a year. As she said, it’s not the same seeing them and just giving the hug sign.

      PS: I received the suggestions. Will email soon. …. well … as long as I remember too. 🙂 … Yamas!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Considering the changes our sense of touch has gone through during the pandemic, makes me a little sad. Hugs, handshakes, even offering people a helping hand or to carry a bag for them are all problematic now.

    This was a good review of this sense, Frank. Good series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan.
      I like the way you explain how offering help has now become problematic during the pandemic. Well stated – and I imagine that’s something neither one of us imagined we would experience! Yet – it is important we stay diligent. Thanks for the kind words and glad you enjoyed the series.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. John,
      Good one! Feeling something unknown is a unique experience for anyone of any age. A starfish is a great example, and to think its two sides are very different. It’s also interesting how some of us are squeamish, others hesitant, and others are fearless of jumping right in.

      Like

  7. You’re right that we don’t think or talk about touch as much as the other senses. It’s come up with Covid isolation–and many not being able to hug/touch another person, but not to be able to feel any textures at all would be awful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Touch is probably a topic that has crossed the minds of many during this pandemic.
    Our inability to hug our loved ones was one of the first things people were having a difficult time accepting.
    Facetime has helped keep us connected but touch is what filters our vibrations to another. Even an Eskimo
    touches noses to show love for another. I think we all need touch. Thanks for the thoughts, aFrank.
    Happy Thursday … Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, I believe both go hand and hand. I have a granddaughter with aspergers who does not like to be touched. It’s difficult but we’ve learned to accept it. Babies usually calm down when touched too. I used to snuggly wrap my girls in a blanket to calm them . There are so many aspects of touch. Thought provoking …

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Your posts often remind me that we take so many simple things for granted. The pandemic took away some of those touch moments that we took for granted – hugs and handshakes. There is nothing like the touch of sand and water on one’s feet. Yes, always good for the sole and soul!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo,
      There’s no doubt that the pandemic has impacted touch. As a hugger, the hug sign just isn’t even close to the same. But it didn’t stop my feed from strolling the sand this year. On the other hand, beaches are closed in some other countries.

      Like

  10. Beautiful post, Frank, and many don’t realize how sensitive our senses are. The virus has taught us how much we miss touching, even if it is just holding hands. Walking on sand is a glorious feeling and so is walking on fresh mown grass. Your posts are always so in tune with life – love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. All in all, after the the years I have followed you have gone by, you have touched me, Frank.

    My taxes are almost finished. Then I will begin selecting pics for you, and our beach walk reflections duet!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I think there’s been a lot of attention on sensory deficit this past year when so many people have been isolated. I heard people speaking of their need for a hug and physical touch. It’s something I probably haven’t previously given that much thought to, but should! I have also heard of people who cannot detect pain and the dangers of that. Frightening! You’re very good at inspiring us towards appreciation, awe and wonder at how intricately we are made, Frank. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      Thanks for the kind words about this post and what I do here at BWR. I recently saw a news report about a grandmother who received her vaccine shot. She mentioned the need to hug her grandkids and be hugged by them – plus that the ‘hug sign” isn’t the same. Yep – the power of touch.

      Like

  13. I’m always rather curious about textures, so have a tendency of running my hands against different surfaces just to see how they feel, which is not really a great habit to have in the middle of a pandemic!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s a funny thing Frank, but the older I get the more sensitive I am to touch. I can no longer wear wool and seams torture me! That said, I cannot imagine losing the sense of touch so I suppose I have to take the bad with the good!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Very touching…sorry 🙂 But seriously, there is no good reason for people to be kept from sensing their loved ones except for those infected with contagion. This is a dehumanizing agenda IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

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