Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Travel Tuesday - Sensual Vacations

PHS Editor Donna Alward takes a trip using her senses....

I posted on my personal blog yesterday about being a Type A personality and working hard.  A lot of type A's don't know how to relax.  It's true that I'm so structured I generally SCHEDULE relaxation, but it's better than not getting any at all.  Because I realize I need it.

When life is crazy, it's the little moments that can have big impact, and as a writer I think I'm self-trained in being observant.  Using my senses.  How do things feel beneath your fingertips? What different colours fade into each other in a sunset?  How is the blue of the lake different in September than it is in July? What do you taste on your tongue? Hear? Smell?

What things make you relax and what stresses you out?

When I was thinking of those questions, the answers automatically came to me as ones that make me feel good.  Beneath my fingertips was the soft rills of cordurouy fabric.  A sunset?  Blues, lavenders, pinks and peaches. A September blue is deeper, settled into itself, rather than the hot, brash colour of July. Tastes of homemade bread, cinnamon, rich red wine.  I hear the haunting call of the loons on the lake. Smell: lilacs.  Apple blossoms. Fresh cut grass.

And what does all this have to do with relaxation?

Well, the truth is there isn't always time for a spa day or a vacation.  Sometimes you need to recharge using the little things.  And those little things come via the senses.

A few weekends ago we went to visit my family.  On the Saturday afternoon we found ourselves at my sister's place.  We didn't do much of anything.  We went down to the water for a short while and the dog had a swim, but mostly we sat on the deck. 

The sun was hot, soaking through my clothes, and the air was perfumed.  It was exactly what I needed to recharge.  Lily of the Valley and lilac drifted down from the front yard and below us was a giant old apple tree in bloom.  It just smelled good, and of scents that I adore.  Obviously; if you look at my webpage banner you'll see lilacs and apple blossoms in the graphic.  There's a reason.  :-)  I didn't need anything else but the sun and the scents.  They reminded me of home, and slow afternoons on the porch, or walking in the rows of apple trees in the spring.  They are smells I associate with being contented and happy.

This photo isn't mine, but it's the right area.  Check out Nat's pics on flickr.
Why do we call foods comfort foods?  Because they make us feel warm, take us back to a time when we felt good and safe and protected.  Senses are tied to emotion.  Deeply tied.  A September blue lake immediately puts me in a field overlooking the Mactaquac headpond from a place I called my "secret spot".  The loons are camping several years ago and hearing them in the dusky twilight as we settled the kids for the night.  Sunset is looking upriver and seeing the colours blend in to each other, feeling the warmth on my skin from the last light of the day. Cinnamon is coffeecake and hermit cookies, fresh bread my grandmother - strawberry freezer jam is a must.  As I'm writing, I try to make sure that I employ the senses and the feelings they inspire in my characters. 

I'm not sure when I'm going to get a "real" vacation, but I do know that the few days I spent soaking in the sun a few weeks ago felt really, really good.

The next time you need to relax, take a sensual vacation!  No travel agent required.  :-)

Donna's next book is HIRED: THE ITALIAN'S BRIDE in the Mills and Boon anthology Mediterranean Men and Marriage, coming in July in the UK.

1 comment:

  1. Donna, hope you have a vacation soon! Or at least a few hours in the sun.Looking forward to reading HIRED: THE ITALIAN'S BRIDE!