Honey Hands

September 2, 2007 at 5:42 am Leave a comment

Honey Hands

At the Farmer’s Market, there is a lady who sells honey. She has a table set up with an amazing array of every shade of amber colored honey poured into plastic smiling bears, shiny big mason jars, or skinny tubes for sucking on while walking the market. There must be 30 varieties. I’ve been buying honey from her for years. I’m set on sage. It’s my favorite, though I continue to indulge in sample tastes on the little sticks she hands me; each one rich, creamy, sweet; liquid earth sliding down my throat. But there’s something else about this honey lady; she has beautiful hands. She has hands so wide, thick, and gnarled that I am drawn to clamber into them and climb them, finding the secrets of honey in the deep lines. So I find excuses to touch those hands; more tastes, more change to parcel out slowly in payment for honey. I watch her hands move around the tables, hoisting around boxes of honey jars. Those hands have been places. Those hands have talked to bees. Those hands are not shy about living. I stand back and watch, entranced.

Hands. I most definitely have a “thing” about hands. That itty bitty hand with fingers unfurling with the newness of life in a newborn, each finger delicately taking on the experiences of beginning time in this world.  The sweet long chains of children safely connected, walking down the street on a field trip, one fat hand held in the other. The rapid sure hand of the flatpicking guitar player, moving chords in forms so complex and fast I can hardly see it happen. The slow moving hand of age, the bones showing through, and the fingers closing up in the form that they first began. I love them all, and they all speak to me.

That is how I first noticed Russ. I saw his hands from across the room. Really. I was at the coffee shop, talking with a friend, and I stopped mid sentence to say Look at those hands! They are so beautiful!, and I watched them; I watched them talk, sit still, move around a bald head. I don’t think my friend understood. Russ’ hands were mini bear paws; strong and furry with a ferocious sense of protection. His hands were used. He made stuff with his hands. Homes were built, sailboats sailed, mountains skied, cars worked on, and all done with a surprising tenderness. There was nothing better than feeling one of those paws probing the soft hair at the back of my head; through that touch I settled, like a lizard warming on a rock.

I remember a woman I saw years ago in Thailand; speaking to my father and I about something nondescript…but after all these years, I remember her hands, moving all around her like doves, like jellyfish, like wind that I could see; and I asked her about it. She said she went to a school in Thailand to learn how to make her hands dance, to make them float like feathers. It was regarded as an art, and there she was, carrying those hands with her everywhere she went.

Some so delicate, some so tenuous about living, and some so rough and rich and swarthy with life.

Honey hands.

                            

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Entry filed under: Ruminations.

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