As very young children, our hands were used to explore things – babies are very tactile explorers. At her first birthday party, my grand-niece Rosemary explored a blueberry pie, first by touching the rough surface of the crust…
…next by digging her hand into the cool gooey blueberry inside…another new sensation!
…and finally by putting her fingers into her mouth to taste this intriguing substance.
As we age, our hands grow along with us and are used for many things: typing on a keyboard (as I am doing right now), create a painting or sculpture, play a musical instrument, signal to people (victory signs, thumbs up, and others not so nice), even talk – the deaf community has its own language, ASL (American Sign Language) to communicate with their hands.When we meet someone, we shake their hands. When we want to express our heartfelt thanks, we might put our hand over our heart. We embrace our loved ones and caress our lovers with our hands.
When I think about it, it’s truly amazing what we can get our hands to do. A secretary who can type as fast as her boss can talk, or a pianist playing a concerto, or a teacher, her hand gripped around a piece of chalk or dry erase marker, as she illustrates or writes something on the board for her students, or a florist using his hands to shape a bouquet just so. So much do we rely on our hands to perform tasks that we become frustrated when our fingers refuse to cooperate!
Hands can be adorned with rings, henna or bracelets.
In old age, hands can fail us: they may become misshapen with arthritis or just not work as efficiently as before. The veins in the back of our hands become more prominent as do the bones of our joints. Age spots may appear on the skin. One of my favorite pictures of my mother is this one, taken on her ninetieth birthday, her wrist decorated with a corsage. Her hand is as expressive as the look on her face.