For many people scent evokes memories and brings them back in time. For me, it’s touch. I can close my eyes and “feel” the soft skin of babies bellies, the fur of the horse I lost many years ago and the feel of an unshaven lovers cheek. My hands hold memories for me. Folding the pages of a book, poetry that with complicated imagery evokes the pain and joy of love, and pages that tell tales. Right now as I write this, Unchained Melody is playing and my hands tell me that they were once touching skin to skin. I’m physically able to remember the feel and textures of places and people in my life. I both remember and feel the weight of a wine glass in my hand, and I can see the beautiful view of a Valley through the glass, it is late afternoon and I’m in a magical setting. A view before me and cutlery on the table, heavy with anticipation of a perfect meal. Of all the senses, touch is the one I respond to. Yes of course, talk to me and by all means appeal to my cerebral side, but more than anything let me feel the moment. Really. Feel. The. Moment.
I bake, kneading dough while opera is playing in the background. My fingers sticky with the combination of liquids and solids that make our daily bread possible. As I knead the dough I feel connected to every baker before me, every hand that rolled and patted and shaped the stuff of sweet smelling kitchens. In a different life I would have been a baker or a chef. I touch the dough and it talks to me, I can feel if I need to add more liquids or flour. I can feel if I have kneaded enough and the dough needs to rest.
Then once the bread is made, I touch the warm loaf and feel connected to the generations of bakers before me. Humanity discovered the magic of fermentation and yeast, and ever since , hands just like mine have kneaded and shaped, patted and rolled to make the most basic of nourishments.
My hands are the happiest when they are creating something. Baking, cooking, knitting, caressing and holding. Life is better shared, and our hands are what we use to give the gifts of touch, and love. Homemade bread says I love you. A back rub or touching a favorite body part says I love you. My hands express the essence of what I am always fumbling to say. I love you.