(My hands. Watercolor and fingerpaints (and the real deal in the second photo). Photos and artwork by Robin. April 2007)
The art of life is to show your hand. ~ E. V. Lucas
Hands. They’re at the end of my arms. My hands are used to physically manipulate things. I can hold a pen or a paint brush and create with my hands. Or mold or sculpt. My hands are my primary source of touch (did you know the fingertips contain some of the densest areas of nerve endings in the human body?). My hands are typing these words.
The human hand has four fingers and one thumb. It has approximately 27 bones. There are lots of phrases associated with hands: Lend a hand. Open hands. Busy hands. Hands on. Helping hands. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Out of hand. Business at hand. Talk to the hand. Raise your hand. Show of hands. Idle hands. In good hands. Time on your hands. Hold the whole world in your hands. Leave it in your hands. Many hands make light work. Hand in hand. All hands on deck.
There’s hand-picked and hand-dipped. You can have your hands tied, your hands full, have/get the upper hand, take a heavy-handed approach, be in safe hands, get your hands dirty, wash your hands of the matter, and keep your hands clean.
But I digress. This about my hands.
My hands are not too big or too small. They’re just right for me. They tend to look a little small when compared with my husband’s hands or my sons’ hands. And they look large when I put them up against my granddaughter’s tiny (and very cute!) hands.
My hands are a little rough because my hands work. They clean, wash dishes, dig in the earth to plant trees. My hands wring, twist, scrub, dust, and hold all the tools necessary to accomplish these things. But my hands are also soft and gentle, caressing, loving, feeling, and healing, capable of the most delicate of operations such a removing a splinter from a child’s small finger.
Sometimes I express myself with my hands, giving signals to go with my words. My hands dance when I dance. My hands flutter, clap, fingers snap, undulate. When I was young and a gymnast, I could stand and walk on my hands.
My hands grasp, clasp, wield, thread, and make gestures such as a peace sign, a-ok, thumbs up, thumbs down, air quotes, and some that aren’t quite so nice such as the finger or flipping the bird.
My hands can play rock, paper, scissors, shuffle cards, roll dice, string a cat’s cradle, hold a jump rope, and pick up jacks or sticks.
I create meals with my hands. Holding a knife I can slice, dice, chop. Holding a spoon, I stir and mix. Holding a fork, I eat. My hands are utensils in and of themselves, capable of mixing, kneading, folding, and shaping.
My hands hold the books I read. My hands sew and crochet. My hands take care of both pleasant and unpleasant tasks. My hands are capable of hitting, slapping, punching, and pinching, but these are not practices I indulge in as an adult. (In all honesty, I did get into some scraps with my hands in my younger days.)
I’m right handed, but my left hand gets a fair share of the work. While thinking about my hands and about writing this entry, I began to realize just how much work my hands do on an average day. They’re hard workers, my hands.
Today I’m celebrating my hands. I’m thankful for the many things my hands do in life, most especially for one of my favorite activities: Holding hands with a loved one.
And I’m betting, hands down, this entry won’t be nearly as popular as the one about my feet. 😉