Sensory: Rustic Knotty Pine

(Snowflakes fall. Source: fathom)

Snowflakes fall | Fathom

Sensory language is the use of details from the five senses to add color and depth to writing. The word sensory comes from the Latin word sentire, meaning “to perceive, feel.” Writers use sensory words to describe a moment and what we can feel with our physical senses.

And then I remember what it was like to see snow in the early morn.

Snowflakes falling, icy roads, rustic knotty pine cabins nestled amid the Lodgepoles.

The word “rustic” in the phrase “rustic knotty pine” above, relates to rural country living, a place that is far away from the busy cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. I see small cabin farmlands on narrow roads, and living spaces with natural colors of greens and browns. The word “knot” in the same phrase gives an idea of how the tree might feel if the reader touched its surface. The tree is rough, scarred by the limbs that once used to be present but removed as the pine began to branch higher.

Let’s look at Winter Time poem by Mary Ryers. Here’s another example of how sensory words can describe and paint and image of a moment.

Winter Time

Icy fingers, icy toes,
Bright red cheeks and bright red nose.
Watch the snowflakes as they fall,
Try so hard to count them all.
Build a snowman way up high,
See if he can touch the sky.
Snow forts, snowballs, angels, too,
In the snow, so white and new.
Slip and slide and skate so fast.
Wintertime is here at last.

Use sensory words to describe and event in your life, a significant occurrence such as a social gathering or activity.


  • Use a sensory details organizer to create a list of various adjectives related to the five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, and sounds.
  • Use a thesaurus to gather similar sensory words and add color to your writing.
  • Your writing can be in poetry form or as a descriptive paragraph.

Categories: Literary Devices

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27 replies

  1. The Best Part of Winter

    Remember the snowball fights happening on the farm, playing with horses in the icy cold mornings with the beautiful sun rays gleaming onto the white cold snow. Friends come over for tasty hot cocoa. My father makes a gigantic ice castle with his big red tractor, making me feel like I could touch the cloudy gray sky. Remember sliding down the steep icy hill into the thorny bushes. Remember the best part of winter.

  2. Winter Thoughts

    Icy fingers,Icy toes, listening to how winter goes. No sun, no shine, snowflakes in the sky. Seeing snowmen, snowballs flying through the air. While looking up thinking you can fly as you smell the wind blowing through the heavens. Yelling with joy to high, to far, but remembering the memories before winter is gone.

    • Hello Maddy. You have rhythm and rhyme! We enjoyed reading your poem, especially the part of ‘wind blowing through the heavens.’ It shows beautiful imagery!

  3. Reblogged this on Coachella Valley Lighthouse and commented:
    This month we feature “Rustic Knotty Pine” on This post shows student writing as they use sensory words to describe sights and sounds of winter.

  4. Winter Days

    Winter was fun smelling the cocoa and hearing the fire burning felling the snow outside such a cold winter day making snowmen tasting the snow and smores winter days so cold.

  5. The Wonderful Days of winter

    Smelling the hot coco and tasting the cinnamon. The fuzzy warm coat on my body.
    Having yummy brownies and a wonderful ride in a sled. Making fire. Having birds
    chirping, flying away to keep warm Having a winter day is better than any other season
    there’s snow. Seeing all the kid’s laughing and playing, eating yummy marshmallows
    with cinnamon in your hot coco having winter’s fun.

  6. The smell of hot cocoa and coffee are delightful. The smell of cookies and brownies all around make me unable to resist the taste of it. The sound of laughter makes me overjoyed . We see all the children having fun in the snow. We feel the warmth of the flickering fireplaces.

  7. Winter Time
    I have to go inside for a dine, or some pumpkin pie. Maybe I can come out after. When i’m feeling kind of lonesome and shy. I like the smell of cinnamon, I like the smell of mint, that’s the happiness of me. Now I have to go to sleep, and in the morning I hear the little beep of my alarm. Another winter day of fun!!!!! 🙂

  8. The Joyful Days of Winter

    Warm fire, warm food, marshmallows on sticks and layers of snow to! Watch all the joyful kids as they play in the snow, try so hard not to be cold. Build a snow castle 1, 2, 3, let’s go.

    • We enjoyed how you were focused in your thoughts, like how joyful the kids play out in the snow. We also get to feel how cold it might be out there. Well done.

  9. Warm Snow

    Warm feet, Warm toes

    Snow you see. Coldness. No.
    Laughing children having fun.

    All at once a snowman is born.
    Place a carrot, put on a hat.

    Feeling Frozen, getting all cozy,
    time for bed.

    Morning comes, spring today
    snowmen pass away.

  10. Winter Days

    Snow snow watch it fall as it displays it, and sprays it all.

    Smell pine. How long you have waited for this season, this time.

    A lot of light and so much heat. I think I will sleep by the fire, it is what I most desire.

    Pozole, soup, cookies, and milk, I eat and swallow it as if it were silk.

    Winter is not so cold as long as you have hands to hold. 🙂

    • You are a poet Natalie. That last line “Winter is not so cold as long as you have hands to hold” is well said. I also enjoyed the sensory word you used, like the word ‘sprays.’

  11. Winter Memories

    I remember my child hood of playing in the snow, cold fingers, cold toes. That’s why I always wear warm clothes. Winter’s mean, winter’s nice, you just never know when you’re gonna freeze in ice. No snow is coming down, how sad.

  12. Winter, Winter Go away Now It’s Time To Play!

    Iced trees I see,
    down the road I go,
    Cinnamon waffles and coffee I smell and I feel cold.
    Heat birds songs while I ear,
    Wood getting chopped down,
    Hearing fire to my ears. Drink some hot tea,
    doing board games.

    • Danielle. Your second line, ‘down the road I go,’ is very good. Especially because of the image of seeing wood being chopped and the smells you will pick up as you walk down the road.

  13. Saying Goodbye to Winter

    Hearing laughter, hot cocoa, to bad it has to go. Seeing snowflakes fall on my tongue hearing children have fun. Smelling cookies eating Posole, going outside, to ride my sled with my friends. Finally, I go my warm bed for I could rest. Winter is the best.

  14. Winter’s Goodbye

    The amazing look of icy snow, the awesome taste of hot coco. What makes us want to dwell outside to come back in for apple pie. Maybe eat one marsh-mellow, but don’t be mad I ‘ll be mellow.Then we’ll sit by the fire and after that we will be so tired. Now to winter we say goodbye and to springtime we say hi.