My Hands

Standard

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won’t be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear

My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

Poverty stole your golden shoes
But it didn’t steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But i knew it wasn’t ever after

We will fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what’s right
Cause where there’s a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing

My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters

From Hands, by Jewel

 

While making the sourdough tonight I became preoccupied with my hands, and the song above came into my head. After the previous post, this message not to worry because worry is wasteful seems like a timely one.

I have always considered that my hands do not really match the rest of me. For starters, they are tiny. Small, square, farmer’s hands, showing the signs of so much use and abuse over the years. I rely on them so much, use them for so many things.

In the days when I worked on horse studs I had lines of dirt in the sides of my fingers that never went away, no matter how much I scrubbed. In a world of office jobs and IT professions, most people probably don’t give their hands the sort of treatment that mine get. Back in the days of manual labour most hands would have had a few jobs to do.

Kidding time is one of the hardest on my hands. You would think that having goat milk all over them a lot of the time would make them soft, but this is countered by the amount of time I spend wielding a rake or shovel. Hand milking itself takes a toll as well, and I mix one-handed milking with the use of a hand pump to allow me to milk a little quicker, since I can’t milk two-handed for very long.

The weekly sourdough bake is also hard on my hands. Tonight it seemed especially painful. Each batch is kneaded, flipped and folded for ten minutes initially, and then four times every ten minutes for another half hour. Tonight felt like very hard work, and my hands ached constantly.

I recently bought a machine that can grate and slice things. I am a particular fan of simplicity, and I generally scoff at electric gadgets that do the same thing something basic and more versatile could do (cupcake maker? It’s called an oven, and it can also cook pizza. Rice cooker? It’s called a saucepan and get over yourself. You get the idea…). But the thing is that when I use a grater I often manage to make myself bleed. Zucchini season leads to several Band-Aids and me eventually admitting that I am simply too unco to make zucchini slice without blood in it. So a machine that grates veggies or mozzarella without me being maimed is a totally worthwhile investment. Score one for my poor hands.

My hands cook, clean and milk. They type and write. They pull stuck kids and pull weeds from the garden beds. They trim hooves and administer medications.They feed my family. They do so many of the things that make me who I am make my life what it is. Sometimes I will attempt to open a jar and my hands will say ‘seriously? Can’t you get someone else to do that?’.

I have a great hemp cream that goes some of the way to softening the abused skin when my hands start to feel like sandpaper. I joke that I don’t wear rings because I don’t want to draw attention to my rough, weathered hands. I have always said that my hands look ten years older than the rest of me.

Hands are tools of expression that show our true nature and intent. The voice can lie, but hands speak the truth. The intention, the action, all there in pure form. We gesture and show emotion with them. They can be cruel or kind, but they say what they mean. What we mean. They are not as easily tamed or edited as our words, and speak the language of the body rather than of the mind. They can tell a story almost as eloquently in simple, terms. They are capable of so many things, and essential to our lifestyles, but we rarely even think about them.

 

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