Putting sensory detail in writing connects the reader’s body to the character’s, puts them inside the story, triggering the very same associations that they would have in life on, say, hearing a cricket or needing a tissue for a dripping nose. That is what makes a story real for the reader.
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Apparently we have 2 systems for thinking in our heads. One is effortless, unconscious and very fast. It uses rules of thumb, prejudices, habit, and fuzzy approximation to get us through with a minimum of effort. It’s right about 70% of the time, and it believes that “done is beautiful.”