without sense

The sun is rising and its glow off the milky, sun-baked clouds is nothing short of amazing. As I stand here, I can’t help but marvel at God’s creation; at the majesty of it all. I can’t remember how I got atop this mountain, and as I strain to think, a brisk wind pushes sharp frozen water pellets into my face, but it doesn’t matter, I can’t feel it. I can’t feel anything.

Let me explain. This is actually my forth sense to go – I lost the other three over the years and all I have left is my sight. As with the previous three, smell, taste, and sound, I needed to test it – to be absolutely sure. When I was twelve, I believe that would have been 1917, I lost my sense of smell. A firecracker on July fourth went right up my nose! That’s not why I lost my sense of smell; but that’s how I realized it was missing.

My dad, at the hospital, said “well I bet that smelled terrible when it exploded.”

It was a funny thing to say really – to suggest having a firecracker explode in my nose must have smelt bad, but then I realized – it didn’t smell like anything at all! Not in the slightest. After I left the hospital, I decided to test my theory and started smelling everything I could. Kids would bring in all sorts of nasty things from all over the neighborhood to see if I could smell it; I smelt everything from oranges to a flattened skunk that ran out of luck along the roadway, but I couldn’t smell a thing! I was completely and utterly without that sense.

Now, as I stand here, I’m afraid to tell you that I’m not sure I can feel and as I think to the future I find myself wondering: How can I appreciate what I have left before that too is ripped away? Will I be just a memory? A faded dream? Does a man cease to exist if he cannot experience the world that he lives in, or is there more than the sum of his senses that defines him?

Written by Thane Keller

Thane is a native of Northern Virginia that has been traveling the world with his wife and four children. Thane researches and writes about technology, innovation, leadership, decision-making, and organizational change.