I sniff at things. I watch Lily’s little wet nose moving around an object, reading it, processing all she can get from it. Then, fascinated, I copy her. True, I can smell very little, but because I do it consciously, I train my nose to at least detect the scents. I focus, so my brain registers the complexity of a smell. I don’t have a plan, I’m not aiming at improving by 30% in 10 days or anything. I simply copy Lily, hoping I might be able to discover a tiny particle of her world. When we sniff at the same things, I watch her little face and I see the hard work that goes into each sniff, sometimes, with more complicated information, tasting the smell. And then, the face relaxes, all’s clear, she has the satisfaction of knowing painted all over her face. Well, I haven’t got the vomeronasal organ and my sense of smell is incomparable with hers, but I still think our sniffing exercises benefit us both. I need to close my eyes sometimes, to prevent my dominant sense (sight) from doing the job. I do the little sniffs, I taste the air, I divide the scents without labelling them. That’s the best I can do. Knowing my own limitations makes me a better teacher. I remember that sometimes it’s good to appreciate the effort itself, not just the end result. I understand that the fact I do something effortlessly doesn’t mean it’s easy for Lily.
Weird? Possibly. But even if I cared, the benefits are countless. My world is richer and I am never wrong about my whisky.