Friday, February 5, 2010

my own two hands

This Friday afternoon was spa time at the Farm. A few weeks ago while staffing a table promoting the CSA at the local YMCA (which mostly meant chatting up the assembled chiropractors), Kat won a free office spa treatment for eight, and this afternoon the lady from BeautiControl came out so we could redeem our prize. Shortly before it was my turn to indulge in the Sugar Cookie Hand Exfoliator, I snuck a glance at my hands - mud under every ragged fingernail, calluses on the insides of my index fingers from rubber-banding kale, chard, spinach and carrots, dirt settled into the dry skin of my knuckles, and plenty of nicks and cuts of unknown origins.

I should note that this sad state of affairs is not a foregone conclusion. Once upon a time I wore gloves while I harvested (until I realized how much it slowed me down), and some of the other interns do a much better job of taking care of their hands. But for me, knowing that my hands will be involved in this...

(Check out more of Josh Reason's pictures from the farm) at least three times a week makes me reluctant to put much energy into cleaning them up.

Besides, I have a certain sense of pride in being marked by what I do. When people stop by our farmers' market booth to comment on how beautiful the veggies are (and hopefully buy a few), we often tell them we picked them ourselves the day before. Occasionally the customer will want to see our hands as proof, and mine usually do the trick.

And for me, admiring the cuts and calluses is a daily reminder of the joy of being able to do things myself, to learn with my hands in the earth and invite others to do the same.

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