Thursday, October 22, 2009

ode to my future ~


As I go through the day, I think about my hands constantly. It has become a nervous habit, rubbing my sore knuckles. I still pop and snap them all day long, but the affected area has nothing to do with cracking knuckles. It’s age. It’s use. It’s arthritis.

I wouldn’t call it vanity. It is just they way people try not to show their “short comings”. Everyone has something ~ something they are hiding. My list is long, but not different than yours. It may be something permanent like the scars I have from a car accident. Or it could be the scratch across my nose from the cat biting me in the night. We are all trying to cover up and hide those imperfections.

When my hands are painful like they are tonight, I think of Olivia. Faded photographs of hands, painful hands. Olivia was my great-great aunt…my great-grandfather’s brother’s wife, and I only know her from the collection of images I have tucked away.


You can’t help but notice that Olivia hid her hands. They were always tucked under in a way to not show the arthritis that had settled in her joints.


In most posed photos she has her hand hidden from view.

4 9 6

It is apparent that her right hand gave her the most trouble and insecurity.


The unmistakable knots and twisting of her fingers.


8Even in the nursing home, photos show dear Olivia holding her hands in a manner to not display what arthritis had done to them.


My grandmother, Mabel, had arthritis too. She always said she hated her hands, and then pluck at the loose skin on her knuckles. But I loved her hands. Those hands, like Olivia’s, tended the garden, crocheted and knitted, mended and cooked, patted and consoled, they supported the entire family.


Olivia Saude born 1865 Norway, died 1960 Rugby, North Dakota


  1. You are right - it is more about what was created with those hands than what they looked like. It is even more precious to see what was created through the pain. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Me too, wouldn't you know it- needlefelting will soon be ruled out....anything from the nightshade family really flares my fingers. I lOVE your photos!

  3. This is a beautiful post. What beautiful strong women. I am delighted to find your blog(: