Random Thoughts

A Handy Appreciation

Your hands do a lot

This is my hand. I wish I could say I was on my way to the boxing gym, but that wasn’t the case. I wish I could say that this — the bandage — happened while I was climbing, or surfing, or skateboarding or mountain biking or even just hiking… but I don’t have a cool story behind it.

This happened while I was gardening. Pruning, to be exact. An overzealous trim and a rusty pair of scissors made for a very sudden mishap and a trip to the ER. Some sutures and a tetanus shot later, I was sent home with a sore arm and a throbbing hand once the anesthesia wore off.

It was my first time ever getting stitches or going to the hospital in my 33 years of being a tomboy. For gardening, of all things. How extreme is that?

And while I’ve been going about my business (or trying to), I realized something.

My whole day revolves around my hands, whether I’m gardening, cooking, chicken coop cleaning, ukulele practicing or even just typing. In fact, I’m typing this all with one hand, and it’s kind of a bitch. (Flashback to seventh-grade typing class where I finger-pecked my way through the first week… except back then, I could at least make a capital letter quite easily. I actually started this post last night so I could finish it this afternoon.)

I know I’ll recover (and somewhat quickly, as the stitches should come out in two to three weeks if all goes well) but sitting here, slightly out of commission, is really giving me a newfound appreciation for my hands.

It made me think of all the little things I will truly look forward to at the end of the month: Holding my pugs in my arms. Harvesting a hefty basket of tomatoes. Shampooing with both hands. Slicing a lemon for my water. Eating corn on the cob. Even washing that first dish by hand (ha, who knew I’d ever say that?!). Thank goodness I’m right-handed, at least.

Unless you’re say, a climber or an artist, you probably aren’t aware of all that your hands do on a daily basis. Look at them again. They are magnificent instruments.

Since clicking around on the web is much easier than replying to emails right now, I spent my day Googling hands. (I’m the type of person who sits in front of the TV with my laptop, just so I can Google the things on TV I find fascinating, like destinations on “House Hounters International” or politics from “The Newsroom.”) And I came across these interesting facts about hands… For example, did you know that the human hand is unique not because we have opposable thumbs, but because of the ability for our pinky and ring fingers to reach across our palm and touch our thumb? That dexterity and flexibility is part of what makes our hands so powerful.

Enjoy your handsome activities this week, whatever you end up doing!

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »

25 Comments

  • Avatar
    Katrinka
    November 8, 2013 at 7:08 am

    what a fascinating post! I just had a manicure yesterday and have been admiring my pink nails. Your post inspired me to look more closely at my entire hands – wow! what a genius design. I read the article you referred to and was sitting playing with my hands, really seeing for the first time how they grip, how the pinky and ring finger move in towards the thumb, how the bones are formed and how each finger moves both independently and together. My husband commented that I looked like a little kid discovering my hands for the first time! I guess it was sort of like that.
    Bummer about the injury. I hope it heals up quickly. I fell and broke a couple of fingers several years ago. They are still crooked. I should have done more physio. Make sure you take very good care of your hand so you don’t have any permanent restrictions!
    Bless bless.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      November 11, 2013 at 2:12 am

      The stitches were removed after three weeks and my hand is fully healed now, but the new skin is still somewhat thin and tender. I’m just happy to be able to stretch my hand wide open again! (Oh, the little things!)

      Reply
  • Avatar
    MissLittleOwl
    August 17, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I’ve been meaning to read this book, Hands by John Napier.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      I just looked up that book… intriguing!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Katie Boué
    August 15, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I love this post – not so much what you did to yourself (yikes, hope that heals quickly!), but the way that it made you appreciate how important hands are. When I tore a tendon in my left hand while climbing, I suddenly realized how important every little part of my hands are. My pinky hurt for a while too, and I was blown away by how much I actually use that little finger. Definitely makes you appreciate those hard-workin’ body parts.

    Especially when it comes to shampooing your hair!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 16, 2013 at 1:15 am

      My new one-handed morning routine (brushing teeth, washing face, brushing hair) has been a real eye-opener… stuff I used to do involuntarily, but now have to think about!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Sarah
    August 15, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I love staring at the lines on my hands sometimes. I never realized until I looked really closely in the light how many lines we have! It almost looks like tree bark.

    Every time I get an injury, I learn to appreciate that part of my body, how far it has taken me, and how special it is 🙂 Good post, though I’m sorry it cost you your healthy hand. But with your outlook on life, I’m sure all is well 😉

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 16, 2013 at 1:29 am

      I love looking at the lines on my hands also… my grandmother used to read all the lines on my palm.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    denise
    August 15, 2013 at 6:50 am

    oh, hope it heals quickly!
    take care.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 16, 2013 at 1:29 am

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Cary Bradley
    August 15, 2013 at 3:34 am

    Ouch! Sooo sorry for your mishap. I’m a tomboy of 5 plus decades and in my semi-retirement, now transcribe reports, using my ears, hands, and one foot to run the sound pedal. After a life of pushing the envelope physically, I move about a bit more carefully, realizing my livelihood relies on me not tumbling down the stairs or cutting my finger preparing dinner and having to spend 2 days with clunky band-aid on finger. I appreciate your reminder that our bodies can do amazing things, and that when they are impaired, the struggle can be substantial. Rusty does not sound good. Heal fast and completely and thanks for taking the effort to post. Aloha!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 16, 2013 at 1:32 am

      I try not to let “real life” hinder the risks I take, but as luck would have it, it’s always the little things that get me! Like tripping on a stair, cutting my finger on a knife… sigh.

      Thanks Cary!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    esungirl
    August 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I appreciate my hands. I have no thumbs and thus really appreciate all that my fingers can do, when most only use their thumb and index. Then I had an accident which temporarily paralyzed the right side of my body…I learned to appreciate my left hand quickly. I learned a good gardening lesson 2 weeks ago, never pull weeds with one hand while holding a sharp knife in the opposite hand. Needless to say, it was a bloody mess, but I was very lucky, we have really sharp knives . No stitches for me, but I felt pretty stupid, which is a no brainer. P.S. I am also an artist. I do KNOW what you mean 🙂

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      August 16, 2013 at 1:35 am

      I can’t stretch my left hand open at the moment (or really hold anything), so it’s been an interesting lesson in learning how to do things with just my left fingertips! And mostly my pinky and ring fingertips, since they’re furthest from the injury. Who knew they could do so much?!

      Reply

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