When I was a lad of 7 or 8 I had a fascination with the hands of men that had seen hard work. The wrinkles and callouses and worn shiny skin seemed to be magic to me. Here were hands that touched tools, metal and wood. They endured pain. They formed the ground and living things. I was enthralled by those hands, even though they were mostly at rest when I saw them.
I desperately wanted to have hands like that. My own young hands were skinny and tender. No character. They were weak and easily felt pain. On occasion I would use my hands roughly and try to get them toughened up, but the progress was very slow. I vaguely recall my first real callouses and that I was amazed that I finally had a callous to speak of.
Today, at 55, I look at my hands and see a bit of the hands of a working man. My palm skin is creasing up. Some of my joints are getting a little large. One finger won't straighten out very well. There are scars and stains here and there. The veins stand out a bit on the backs and the skin is starting to get a bit transparent. I think I'm finally making some progress.
Then I meet my neighbor Ralph and I feel like a little kid again. He's in his 80's and worked in the woods almost all of his life. His hands are just as gnarled and knotty are old tree roots. Beaten up and yet tender. Old, yet capable. And when he gestures with those old hands I DO pay respect to his decades of years and experiences. I love his hands.
Hopefully I can get some more things done with these hands of mine and make a real contribution of goodness to this world. I'd like to have more character in my hands. Its going to take some real work. And maybe, just maybe when I'm an old man gesturing to make my point some younger whippersnapper will pay me a bit of respect, even if just for the fact that I have cool looking, roughed up old hands that have a few things to say for themselves.
Now ... where did I put that shovel of mine??
Allen Pollock, ( Owner of Gentle Breeze Farm, LLC located in Windham, Maine )
Gentle ponderings & ruminations on life and living