Walking. What are hands for?


It’s 2 pm.

There’s phone chatter on the floor, fingers tapping on keyboards, a high speed printer spitting out copies, and the hum of florescent ceiling lights providing percussion.

The Modern Manufacturing Plant. And my Home away from Home.

I’ve been anchored to my seat since 5:30 am – an 8-hour shift and the meter continues to run.

I shift uncomfortably left, then right. The lower back groans.  My step counter reports 1,704 steps, 8,296 steps short of the daily target. But it’s not enough, not nearly enough to get me up and around and moving.  This soul’s chained to the wheel, with Kyo Maclear’s “pessimistic disposition, a perfectionist quality mixed with a sense of inadequacy…striving leading to suffering.”  My rocket fuel. Sucking on its straw, tanks strapped on tight, wired for production, banged up, leading Lombardi’s sweep, 4 yards in a cloud of dust.

I’m finishing up a telephone conversation and the phone cuts out.

The ceiling lights flicker once. Then again. And there’s a pop.

Power outage.

The Modern Manufacturing Plant has lost its fuel.

The floor is quiet.  The production tools sleep.  We stare at the dark, blank screens, fully expecting the back-up generators to fire up.

A minute passes. Three minutes pass. I walk out of my office and see the team stirring, up out of their chairs, talking with their mates, congregating in small groups.

Chatter.  Laughs.  A few share their secret stores of candy.  Others toss a Ball.  Human contact.

A shout comes from across the floor: “How about a Snow Day Boss, let us go home early?”

And as she finishes her plea, the lights flicker once, and then again, and the floor is ablaze. The PC screens flash, begin to hum and the hard drives spin.

One by one everyone moves back to their desk, back to their keyboards, back to their screens…

She presses: “So, how about it boss?”

I smile, step back into my office, and settle in my chair.

Back to work.

Inspired by:

“It is obvious that here in the USA manual labor doesn’t count anymore; it’s devalued and not honored. Not only when it comes to cooking, also the carpenter, the mechanic, the plumber, the farmer, the gardener and the seamstresses are affected by this. Their knowledge and craft are devaluated. We don’t have time for all those things anymore. We are too busy earning money at often uninteresting jobs. If people were to do more simple, down-to-earth activities like gardening, sewing or cooking they would feel more satisfied and fulfilled, more connected. You won’t get this from watching television. Working with our hands nourishes us. It doesn’t matter, if you cook or do garden work, it will give you a feeling of being connected to the world. You work with the things of this world. Today, if you are a successful person, you hire a cook, a housekeeper, you buy your clothes and somebody buys your food. Nobody touches a broom anymore to sweep the floor. What are hands for? To put chips in your mouth and punch the remote?”

~ Edward Brown, from an Interview with Edward Brown in Spirituality & Practice

Notes: Quotes: Edward Brown via The Hammock Papers. Photo: @Nini Poppins


  1. Hands were meant for more than becoming cramped…lives were meant for more too. I’d go with the snow day and experience the delight in increased production the following day..😉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. LOVE your inspirational quote.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. hands are for touching and waving hello and farewell

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahhh…the power outage. Modern man’s recess. Too bad it didn’t last longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Some of the happiest people I know are people who work with their hands–artists, landscapers, furniture makers.

    I interviewed a cheese maker earlier this week who talked about precisely this — the joy that comes from ending a day’s work with something (literally) in hand to show for yourself. He also talked about the satisfaction he finds in touching the cows, retrieving the milk, knowing exactly where the food he’s making comes from. His enthusiasm and passion for his craft were infectious….

    Give yourself a snow day, pal. I’m betting you’ll remember what you did on your day playing hooky much longer than you’ll remember (assuming you still do) what tasks you accomplished in that 8-12 hour shift.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brown nails it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh dear. A missed opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A great company here, http://nri-distribution.com/people/
    that really knows what hands are for. A snow day is allowed if the sun is shining and there is new powder on the mountain (Sun Peaks). You can take a snow day, no questions asked. They are immensely successful, a Seth Godin kind place. My good friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a beautiful article. It really captures the message in a short amount of words. This made me realize, once again, how much more I feel at peace when I knit or bake, than when I’m standing at a cash register smiling and saying meaningless words for five hours at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

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