A baby’s chubby dimpled digits, reaching out in an act of totally unprovoked, unencumbered needing to touch. The hands of time.
Hands are what allowed us to “advance our civilization” (if you want to call it that. To type our tweets and messages to a world beyond physical touch. Hands define our ability to move from merely surviving; tanning hides to protect our skin, carving tools to provide our food and creating beauty to record our lives through words, pictures and art. I look at my appendages of 60+ years, stop to examine beyond the causal glance, and see my history.
A slightly dark spot on my right pinky finger is the tip of a pencil. It broke off during a long forgotten rift with my brother Duncan when we in very young. There was no Internet, I couldn’t google lead pencil poisoning, or WebMd on the topic. I shut up, slapped a bandage on and swore to never tell our parents. That same finger suffered a break while jumping my horse Night. I jammed my fingers into her neck to give the reins release over a particularly squirrelly obstacle and heard the crack when it broke. I don’t remember it being terribly painful, but it healed in an odd position. Further medical attention required a metal rod insertion and I could never think of a time when I wouldn’t need to wear gloves and be around dirt so that sounded like a risky procedure.
But I digress. These nicks and scars are all part of the tapestry woven into each our hands. We dress them in jewelry that defines our status – married or engaged. We decorate our nails and cloth our hands in gloves and mittens. We tie a string around them to remind us of things we should do. Psychics study the lines and tell us our future.
Finally, there are elderly hands, skin softly loosened from years of contact with the physical world, clasping with no intention or expectation of anything more than the warmth of touch.