Phantom Sensations


I’ve read that when someone loses a limb, it takes their brain a long while to adjust to the loss. For years afterwards they experience pain in the missing part. Suddenly the leg, no longer there, has an itch. It’s called phantom pain.

Although certainly not as tragic, I too experience a phantom sensation of sorts. It’s been eight years since we left South Asia, but every time I hear something scamper across the roof, I assume it’s the monkeys! Every time a branch bounces under the weight of a critter I know with an unfounded, and yet uncanny, confidence, it’s the monkeys. When I realize it’s merely a squirrel, I’m shocked every time.

I’m curious. Do you have any lingering phantom sensations? Anything that catches you off guard with a chuckle and a moment of surprise that says–that’s not a monkey?

About the picture: This photo was taken about ten or eleven years ago on our roof in Varanasi. These mischevious monkeys were playing in the run-off from our water tank when our good friend and photographer, Kris Hoffman, just happened to catch them in the act!

6 thoughts on “Phantom Sensations

  1. Fireworks! It may be guns firing! Then I think wait, I’m in the US, it’s just fireworks for the ball game or the 4th of July! Still my heart races a bit before I remember where I am.


  2. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where it rains about three times a year. We recently moved to the Caribbean, where it rains three times a week! Every time I hear rain on the roof, I think somebody is throwing gravel or that a generator somewhere is having trouble. It always takes looking outside for me to realize that it’s just rain!


  3. Thanks, Robynn, this is spot on! Today I saw shoes looped over a wire up high and thought that someone must be trying to ward off evil spirits. when it rains or snows I get ready for the electricity to go out. in a blind curve I expect some kind of animal to be on the road and slow down for it. i’m watchful about open doors lest the monkeys sneak inside. if I hear noise from a neighbor I wonder which puja is happening.


  4. I was also going to say the call to prayer, Marilyn! It takes me a second or 2 to remember what country I’m living in before I realize it couldn’t be the call to prayer.


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