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May 30, 2012

Probably a year ago I started this and it only ever ended up in my drafts. But the idea stayed in my mind and has become more true and meaningful since my sister had her baby last Tuesday and I became an Auntie for the first time. So, I have taken the draft and changed and added parts so it suits the here and now


It was early and grey, I was staring, glazed over eyes looking out onto a bleak London morning. My thoughts lingered back and forth over nothing in particular, mainly a rolling commentary on what I could see, a consistent humming of images turning over across my mind. You know, when you just zone out and you don’t really consciously know anything because your in that place where only your mind can go.

But the dense fog and fuzz that buffered around my head was being cleared by the inquisitive, persistent voice of a 5 year old boy…..”mummy, but what does that do?'”…..”mummy where’s the bendy bus?” “where are they going mummy?”……and so on. He just wanted to know about everything, he was amazed by everything and in awe of the world around him. Why does that wonder have to die out? Why do we loose it and become accustomed to this world we live in as nothing more than commonplace?

And so my entertainment for much of the bus journey became the questions of this little boy who wanted to know about everything. He was sat right in front of me, eagerly gazing out of the window, pointing and waving his hands around , wildly excited by the sights of London. And then I began to think about ‘hands’ because I couldn’t not think about hands because his were constantly being wafted in front of my face.I mean I really began to think about them, these strange star-shaped things that stick out from the end of our arms, that bend and fold, that move without thinking, that animate conversation and hold so much potential to do what we do and aid us in becoming what we are supposed to be.

I thought of a babies hand that can wiggle in delight or clench tight in a crying fit. The tiny fingers that so knowingly clasp onto a mother’s outstreched hand. Hands at this age, ask the questions, they reach out for the world around them, grabbing and poking here, there and everywhere. They speak words that cannot yet be verbalised. At this point these hands could be used for anything, they have the potential for so much.

One day they might delicately hold a paint brush that colours and shades the last strokes of a masterpiece. Tap keys on a computer, lightly pressing the enter key to send a heart-breaking e-mail or an email full of news of their life. Hands take our thoughts and throw them out into the world, they take our ephemeral thoughts which are nothing more than air and mould them into observable action that can be witnessed, actions that define us and lead us to where we need to be. Those tiny fingers might one day write the soul of their owner into each individual note being plucked on a guitar, bringing a melody into existence that will continue to be after those fingers are still again. The prop to a resting head, the feather touch on a loved ones cheek or the hand that saves a life.

More though are the everyday things they will do day by day that just allow us to keep being. Bringing food to our mouth, having the intricacy to pull a million buttons through a million button holes, tying shoe laces, steering a driving wheel or handing money over to a bus driver. When you really stop to think about all those things that having hands allows us to do, the list is endless and so is the potential they give us.

So when I visited my nephew Harrison, I looked at those delicate fingers with the perfect but tiny little nails and the lightly pressed lines and wondered at all they would do in his life and all the potential he holds. The world has not imbued his mind with cares or concerns, it is open to all experiences and right now the possibilities of everything are before him and that is the real beauty of a new life.

As his Auntie I hope that I can show him that ‘A possibility was born the day he was born and will live with him as long as he lives’ and seeing him and the beginning of a life reminds me of that too.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2012 9:11 pm

    This is beautfully written. You've got me thinking about how hands “take our thoughts and throw them out into to the world.” Insightful.

  2. June 4, 2012 6:40 pm

    Thank you, yeah I think hands make a lot of what we think possible in reality and then when you think of everything they do on a daily basis it is never ending!

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