The other day, after I’d harvested a new crop of kale and stripped off my gloves, I looked down at the backs of my hands. Then I looked again, startled. I don’t spend a lot of time examining my hands. Mostly, they’re tools - those special tools we have as humans, that allow us to create. What I imagine I can make with my hands.
What I saw didn’t match what I expected. Somewhere, as they did their work, my hands had aged. There were new wrinkles, the soft ones that communicate lots of time spent outside. They were bony, and thin. I was reminded, looking at my hands, of my grandmother’s.
My first reaction, I have to admit, was to wish they weren’t like that. I wanted this part of my body to look the way I anticipated, to stay young and unworn. I wanted to be - to feel - unweathered. I think we all do, sometimes, when time catches up to us in the mirror. We wish we could roll back the years written on our skin.
But then, I started to think about what those years mean. They’re not just time. They’re relationships and work and experience. My hands tell a story of the years passing: decades rich with memories. My grandmother’s hands did too. They were how she raised her children, how she showed her grandchildren the meaning of work done mindfully and well. What we touch with our hands becomes our story. What’s yours?
- Farmer and Cultivator