Home » In Between » AN HOMAGE TO AGING HANDS. . .


my handsWhen I look at my hands they don’t let me forget that I am aging. The skin is thin and adorned with liver spots and wrinkles. The veins stand up tall and proud. They were never my best feature, beauty-wise, but they have always been capable hands and have served me well for many decades. I wear a star sapphire ring that belonged to my mother, and it reminds me that I come from a lineage of women who have strong hands and know how to use them. We come from good Serbian peasant stock.

Years ago I was a midwife at a birth that was attended by a young girl of seven. She watched intently as her baby brother was born. Later at the first post-partum visit, she handed me a picture she had drawn about her experience. I looked at it, puzzled. “It’s a picture of your hands,” she patiently explained. “They are so smart and know just what to do.”

I hear that women can go through an entire pregnancy now without a human hand ever touching their bellies, just an ultrasound transducer schlepping over their gel-covered abdomen every prenatal visit, impersonally recording data about their babies. A dear young friend of mine had her baby in an Asian country some years ago, and when I inquired once about how many centimeters her belly was measuring, she said she had no idea; no one had ever measured her. When she asked at the next visit for them to do just that, they gave her a look of incredulity. Seriously. That is so old school now and very inaccurate. Really? Since when? Assessing the size and position of a baby in utero using one’s bare hands and a measuring tape has worked for hundreds of years, not to mention the fact that women love to have their bellies touched.

The further away I get from the source, the more out of touch I feel. When I garden I want gloveless hands in the dirt, making direct contact with the plants, taking their pulse. I love the sensual feel of earthy bread dough, feeling its life force and suppleness beneath my fleshy palms and fingers. I’ll choose bare hands over spoons any day when mixing most things, especially heaping bowls of potato salad. I do best when very little comes between me and my immediate experience, and when I can get away with it, I eat without utensils!

A western, female Buddhist teacher counseled me once: “What you think you need, is what you should be giving!” So sometimes when I am wishing for a sympathetic soul to come forward and address the pain and stiffness in my shoulders and neck, I’ll go to someone nearby and ask if they would like a little massage. And as their tension dissipates under these strong, capable hands of mine, and I hear their audible moans of relief, I actually do feel better.

It turns out that grandchildren don’t mind these aging hands. They like to affectionately caress them and squeeze the thin skin between their fingers when they curl up for a snuggle, like having a familiar, comfy blankie to rub on. . .


8 thoughts on “AN HOMAGE TO AGING HANDS. . .

  1. I love that —what you think you need you should be giving. Thank you for starting my day with inspiration. love, Kathleen in CT

  2. Your stories are like a comfortable blanket wrapped around me. My first meditation of the day. Ahhh…

  3. So beautiful Candace, I love it! And just feel you in your rich descriptions of women and earth, bread dough and love and life. xoxoxo

  4. Oh Candy! I love this! What wonderful stories you tell. I especially love the one about the little girl drawing your hands and telling you how smart your hands were – they knew just what to do. Wow!  No gloves, no utensils – I felt every scenario you described – because in so many ways, we are of the same peasant stock. Those hardy souls who need to feel their way through this life on earth. It’s wonderful isn’t it?  Our hard-working hands have given us our lifestyle. I am so grateful. And  i love that you wear a ring from your mother than reminds you of your Serbian peasant stock. How precious to be reminded so often. A talisman.  I love you Candy. I miss you! Randi Randi de Santa AnnaPO Box 1249Seeley Lake MT. 59868www.ihiketowrite.comwww.bigguys.zenfolio.comwww.fourseasonforays.com

    From: BIRTH AND DEATH AND IN BETWEEN To: r_and_ia@yahoo.com Sent: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 10:20 PM Subject: [New post] AN HOMAGE TO AGING HANDS. . . #yiv0885996864 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0885996864 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0885996864 a.yiv0885996864primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0885996864 a.yiv0885996864primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0885996864 a.yiv0885996864primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0885996864 a.yiv0885996864primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0885996864 WordPress.com | candacepalmo posted: “When I look at my hands they don’t let me forget that I am aging. The skin is thin and adorned with liver spots and wrinkles. The veins stand up tall and proud. They were never my best feature, beauty-wise, but they have always been capable hands and have” | |

  5. How timely! I was just noticing the other day the amazing flapping of skin that happens when I place my hard working peasant stock hands in those high powered hand drying gizmos in public restrooms. It makes me laugh out loud. Those gizmos are also a poignant reminder of impermanence. I’m grateful for the work that your hands have done in this world, Candace, and equally grateful for your beautiful observations of this rich life we live.

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