What is more beautiful than the hands shaped by devoted work? The marks of time and trial make wonderful maps of all the history and care that make each hand unique, every capillary the path blazed on the journey of toil or triumph.
An elder’s hand might be craggy both with age and strength and a dancer’s, always artful, even in repose. A farmer’s and a gardener’s might both have creases full of long-embedded earth, looking like furrows in the plant-rich soil. Craftsmen’s hands are often as modeled and sculpted as their works, and the athlete’s power and precision and timing and sensitivity bespeak years of training and focused will. A conductor’s hands, as I happily know, conjure music out of thin air with the way they guide and join voices and other instruments into a whole new thing, a sound that transcends all of the individuals responding to the gesture, transcends the single pair of hands.
But best of all, I think, are the hands that hold. Cradling and offering gifts to those in need, they hold a hint of another, better world. Reaching and taking another person’s hand with kind tenderness or sweet familiarity and love, the message they send for all to see is very clear. Would that every person on earth could feel the touch and know the purpose and meaning of such hands. What a pure and magical message. Send it out to the rest of the world, won’t you?