History in your Hands

Erich Maria Remarque once said in his novel A Night in Lisbon, “How can we be really sure of our happiness until we know how much of it is going to stay with us?” “The only way,” Schwarz whispered, “is to know that we can’t hold it, and stop trying to. We frighten it away with our clumsy hands. But if we can keep our hands off it, won’t it go on living fearlessly behind our eyes? Won’t it stay there as long as our eyes live?”

We frighten happiness away with our clumsy hands…Wow! If you think about it, history shows up in your hands and in them, what makes us happy, and it provides understanding of our ability to keep on living fearlessly.

I often look at people’s hands and nails. They speak loudly about what is important to them. Short, manicured nails speak of massage; artsy nails, glamour; broad hands, caring for the ones we love; soft hands, gentleness; scars, our wounds as we work; burns, our love of cooking; arthritic knuckles, our aging; callouses, our ability to play guitar; dirt under the nails, the joy of gardening; smooth, soft skin, youth and innocence; broken and split nails, neglect; vertical ridges, illness.

Take a look at your hands right now. Really study them. Write a few lines about your hands and see where it goes.

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6 thoughts on “History in your Hands

  1. Barbara Brinker says:

    My hands look “normal” to me, and when I study them I start to see the details; a scar from that time the tip of my cigarette fell onto my knuckle, short rough nails because I work with my horse daily, fingers that can still type quickly and accurately and a dry cracked palm on my left hand probably linked to psoriasis. My hands show the physical affects of my life. Hidden inside are the skills and muscle-memories of many talents and tasks, some long unused but waiting patiently to be called upon.

    1. Kathie Sutherland says:

      Thank you for telling me about your “normal” hands. Its interesting to study and begin to see the details. Have you ever thought about the history of your feet. Or ears. Or eyes. Very cool to think about this. 🙂

  2. Such a great post – yes hands do show our lives more than any other part of our bodies. Mine have developed brown age spots in the past year or so I keep my nails manicured and need a hardening varnish to stop them splitting. I should moisturize them a lot more than I do!

    1. Kathie Sutherland says:

      Thank you for sharing the history of your hands. I began thinking that we could do this for many parts of our body. Eyes. Ears. Lips. Feet. In fact I found a great prompt not long ago asking the writer to write about two very different kinds of feet! 🙂

  3. Kathie, I finally put your blog link up on my blog sidebar. And now every time there’s a new post, I see it and can come and visit. Not sure why I never thought of doing so sooner.

    I enjoyed your post and the comments about hands. What an interesting subject. I have short stubby fingers which seem more noticeable as I age, not the long graceful hands of a pianist, which I always wanted to have. I finally realized that I’ll never be able to really properly play Chopin’s Etude in E Major (my favourite piece of music since forever) just because my fingers are too short. My piano teacher from long ago used to remind me I needed to keep my nails short so I could play the keys properly.

    Something about my nails that I have noticed over the years, they remind me of both my grandmother’s and my uncle’s hands. Which reminds me of my family genes. Which is kinda cool.

    Wishing you a beautiful day…

    1. Kathie Sutherland says:

      I apologize for not responding sooner. I haven’t written any blogs for quite sometime and haven’t even been on my own site.

      I’m glad the Hands post resonated with you. I had quite a few responses to that one. Glad you will be a regular visitor.

      Interesting that you wanted long graceful fingers to play piano. I find it interesting that we remember remarks from so long ago. My mom used to say I had a lady’s hands. That was because she had rough, broad worker hands and she was noticing that when I was a teenager! I’m not sure its so any more. My daughter finds it interesting that the lack of elasticity in the skin of my hands allows her to pull the skin up and it stays. Oh dear!

      Thanks for your comments. Hope we can talk again soon.

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