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These Hands

April 2, 2017

21145432 - aging process - very old senior woman hands wrinkled skin

Has the skin of your heart ever seemed stretched thin? Like the canvas of an old lady’s hands?

Risen, well-marked life tracks. Smooth, fine wrinkles, a little bit gnarled. Worked over, stretched out. Bent round, cupping, loving, living, lived. Valleys, deserts, ridges, weather-beaten, sunset fading. Blue veins, slowly beating.

Wider, gnarled knuckles. Soft like Avon lotion. Reminiscent of coffee and linen. Washed a hundred thousand times. Kneaded like dough, risen and fallen. Thinned out, translucent. Cool and airy, slowly dying.

Spread wide, embracing. Lightly falling. Growing forward like thousand-year-old oak roots. Mountain ranges of glory after glory. Sun marks. Age spots. Lived life’s crowning beauty.

Secrets. Wisdom. Holding, loving. Shushing. Braiding. Smoothing. Stirring. Full of life and knowing. Marked. Criss-crossing. Knitting, knitted, knotted up. Life hazarded across these hands. Imprinted, stamped, etched deep with life, life that sometimes gave, often took, sometimes blossomed, others withered.

Hands that ache and show of aching. Of a life so lived that it’s worth telling. Tracing rivers and ravines, to see and feel the love and giving. To remember love in flesh, love in real. Gripping strength in the face of dying, giving strength despite the years.

Hands made by the molding and the pressing, the cradling and the straining, by the work and by the doing. These hands wrapped in thin-stretched skin.

The skin of my heart seems stretched thin, just like the canvas of an old lady’s hands.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Catherine permalink
    June 7, 2017 2:57 pm

    On Monday I held my mother’s hands in her apartment and thought of this picture. I came back to find it and read it several more times. Two weeks ago I held and squeezed her hands as she cried in the hospital. Tomorrow I look forward to holding them again and slowly find ways to bring forth the wisdom they hold. Thinking of you often.

    • June 10, 2017 2:04 pm

      I was inspired to write this because of my Mamaw! Having women with these hands in our lives is so powerful.

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