Sunday Morning

What was precious—flexing.
Fingers wrapping bottle, jar,
fluent weave of tendon, bone, and nerve.
To grip a handle, lift a bag of books,
button simply, fold a card—…

Unthinking movement, come again.
These days of slow reknitting…
Thank your ankles, thank your wrists.
How many gifts have we not named?

~ Naomi Shihab Nye, from “Broken” in Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners 


Poem: Thank you Beth @ Alive on all Channels. Photo via seemore

Lightly Child, Lightly.

And what is time?
A child at play, now arranging his pebbles, now scattering them.”

— Heraclitus, Fragment 79 as collected by Lucianus in Vitarum Auctio 14 and translated by G. T. W. Patrick (1988)

 


Notes:

  • Photo: “The Hand Chaser” by Marta Everest (via Newthom.com). Quote: Journal of a Nobody
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

It’s been a long day

fingers-massage

Take me to your trees.
Take me to your breakfasts,
your sunsets,
your bad dreams,
your shoes,
your nouns.
Take me to your fingers.

— Margaret Atwood, from Good Bones


Notes:

Miracle? All of it. (Feel Me)

hands-dan-stockholm-red-clay

We think of hot and cold, or of textures, silk and cotton. But some of the most important sensing we do with our fingers is to register incredibly minute differences in pressure, of the kinds that are necessary to perform tasks, which we grasp in a microsecond from the feel of the outer shell of the thing. We know instantly, just by touching, whether to gently squeeze the toothpaste or crush the can. […]

Computer chess looks intelligent, but it’s under-the-hood stupid. Reaching and elegantly picking up the right chess piece fluidly and having it land in the right place in an uncontrolled environment—that’s hard. Haptic intelligence is an almost irreproducible miracle! Because people are so good at that, they don’t appreciate it. Machines are good at finding the next move, but moving in the world still baffles them. […]

Our bodies are membranes in the world, with sensation and meaning passing seamlessly through them. Our experience of our bodies—the things they feel, the moves they make, and the textures and the people they touch—is our primary experience of our minds. “The brain is just simply part of our bodies” is how the philosopher Alva Noë often puts it. The truer cartoon, in a sense, would be “Outside In,” with the emotions produced by people bumping against one another. A key to being embodied in this way is tactile experience—what we touch, whom we touch, how many we touch, and why we find them touching. Grasping, hugging, striking, playing, caressing, reaching, scratching backs, and rubbing rears: these are not primitive forms of communication. They are the fabric of being conscious. The work of the world is done by handling it. We live by feel. […]

Later, in a café near the square, Keltner has a cappuccino and, sitting at the counter, watches the variety of human touch as it reveals itself in that unending theatre: fingers flying on the keyboard, hands darting out to make a point, heads turning to underline a joke, bodies slouching and primping and jostling and soliciting attention. An intensity of feeling combines, in our tactile lives, with a plurality of kinds.

Perhaps the reason that touch has no art form is that its supremacy makes it hard to escape. We can shut our eyes and cover our ears, but it’s our hands that do it when we do. We can’t shut off our skins. It is the obscurity of the other senses that makes us enliven them with art: touch is too important to be elaborated or distilled. It just is. What we see we long for; what we hear we interpret; what we touch we are. The art we aspire to is a remote sensation, always out of reach. Life is the itch we are still trying to scratch.

~ Adam Gopnik, excerpts from Feel Me. What the Science of Touch Says About Us


Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Image: “By Hand” – Red Clay Sculpture by Dan Stockholm

 

Miracle? All of it. 

fingers-fingertips-touch

“I can’t feel anything in my fingertips,” Manning said. “I’ve talked to a doctor recently who said, Don’t count on the feeling coming back.

The ESPN pundits were chattering about the NFL preseason in the background.  Upon hearing Fingertips – Feeling – Not coming back, my attention moves from the morning paper, to the broadcast. I listen.

“It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back. So you wake up every day thinking, Today’s the day! Then it’s not.”

I gently release my grip from the newspaper, and with feather touch brushes I slide my fingertips over the paper. Back and forth and then again.  And again. And again.

Skin on paper.

A boy, hand in his pocket, fingers his favorite polished stone.

The paper is dry, smooth.

I release.

A trace of ink stains both fingertips.

Today’s the Day!


Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


Notes:

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