Stories, opinions, facts, convictions, and lessons learned from a small town farm girl.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Heart and Soul: A Farm Woman's Hands

In continuation of my post yesterday, I'm going to commence my rambling...

When I think of my mom and think about all she does - her strength, faith, beauty, and that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface - I think of her hands.  I can remember when I was young my mother talking to me about how much she disliked her hands - she said they were too rough, cracked, dry, wrinkly.  I never quite understood why she felt this way or quite frankly, how she even noticed, until the other day I was cleaning out some cattle water troughs and looked at my hands, for whatever reason, as the water was draining out the bottom.  I noticed tiny wrinkles that were never there before.  I then noticed my palm covered in callouses and all the barbed wire scars across the tops of them and in the soft tissue between my fingers and thumb.  I noticed the dirt under my short nails and the unmanicured hang-nails on either side of my thumbs.  I noticed I have my mother's hands.

Never once did I feel a twinge of disappointment with my new discovery, for I look at her hands very differently than she.  When I think of my mother's hands, I think of the way they work in the garden - all the weeds they've pulled, rows they've hoed, beans they've picked, corn they've husked, rocks they've thrown.  I think of the way she plants her flowers with love in her flower beds, adding color to the brown of our home, and the way she carries water to them if there's been a shortage of rain.  I think of all the potatoes they've peeled, fences they've helped to mend, wounds they've bandaged, iced tea they've made, burns they've felt, cows they've fed, calves they've pulled, Christmases they've decorated for, permission slips they've written, lunches they've packed, homework assignments they've helped to do, and dirty faces they've washed.

A farm woman's hands are one of her greatest prides and one of her most humbling attributes.  Only another farm woman would understand this.  Farm and ranch women are some of the toughest women God made for this Earth - no doubt cut from a different mold - and our hands, while not beautiful, tell a thousand stories and are evidence of a life well-lived.

My mother's hands are one of the most beautiful things about her.  I have been wanting to write on this for quite some time, but have been waiting for the inspiration.  Well, that inspiration came last night when my ma sent me this picture.

She had found a baby bird, trying to learn how to fly, had fallen in my dog's water bowl.  My mother kindly picked him up, dried him off, and patiently waited until he could learn to fly.  Every time he fell, she picked him back up so he could try one more time.  Eventually he was gone and no doubt learned to fly on his own.  But without my mom and her patience and gentle hands, this little guy would've been a goner.

Wrinkled, dry, calloused hands are a farm woman's trophy for the full life that she's lived.  I can think of nothing more satisfying than to look at my own hands and see my mother's there. 

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