Tuesday, 24 January 2012


 Fingers are so clever.

Yesterday I had to clean out the candle stub from the spring-loaded inner mechanism of the candle lantern.  And I made lemon curd, which involves grating lemon zest.  And as usual I had porridge for breakfast and of course washed out the pan.

What I notice is how amazing my fingers are for getting things clean.  When bits of porridge adhere to the saucepan base, a thumbnail is both better at scratching it loose and better at leaving the metal unscratched – same with cleaning candle-wax off the lantern.  Fingers clean the little fiddly lemon zest cling-ons of the grater, and then are easy to wiggle clean in the washing up water.  If I use a brush to clean, the zest/porridge simply sticks to the brush.  If I use a knife to prise loose the candle wax, it scratches the lantern.  Fingers and finger-nails are an extraordinary combination of gentle/soft and strong.

They also have the advantage of being able to feel so acutely, and are therefore most sensitively responsive; the world’s most fine-tuned tools, dexterous and clever beyond description.

I remember reading an article about a child whose arms we blew off in the Iraq war.  He was given prosthetic arms and hands with the most complicated mechanisms that gave them a truly impressive range of capabilities.  For the person looking at him, they seemed to make everything right again.  Bingo!  Arms and hands!  But . . . but he couldn’t feel anything with them.   The ones God made him with were better than the clever prosthetics we fitted him with after our cleverly manufactured clever bombs blew them off in the first place.


365 Day 25  (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)

I loved this and sent it as a special gift to somebody I love.  In pursuing simplicity, some things are easy to part with, and others much harder.  I find it easier to part with things I want to cling to if I think they will bring joy to someone who in turn brings joy to my heart.  Inside the beautiful gold and red drawstring bag is a Buddhist mala – that’s a string of prayer beads.  I had it for praying for people when I was travelling on the bus; to hold in my hands as a prayer focus, moving it along through my fingers feeling each bead as a prayer for each individual I held up into the Light.


Buzzfloyd said...

I was thinking just that about fingers yesterday. As well as their nails for scratching and prising, they have the ridges of their skin which, in combination with the right amount of sweat, make them one of the most versatile gripping surfaces we have. Then there's the different ways you can use them, combining and bending for different grips and so on.

Did you know that men and women have differently proportioned hands? Men have relatively longer fingers, which gives them a stronger, surer grip and better ability to exert pressure with their fingers. Women's hands are not as strong, but are more sensitive; the least sensitive woman has more nerve endings in her fingertips than the most sensitive man.

Ember said...

The uber-coolness of Creation has no end!

maria said...

This post is amazing...because my hands, as I type this, are taken quite for granted all the time.

I realize that without these fingers, many of the tasks I enjoy doing, will not be able to be done.

Touching my daughter's curls...reaching and connecting with my husband...all those wonderful things that are gifts!

The pouch is beautiful. I admire your faith so much Ember...It is steady and true.


Ember said...

Yes Maria, the *connecting* is so precious and important a part of what our fingers do!

BLD in MT said...

How true! Fingers allow you to use just the right amount of pressure to get the job done.

You want to hear my oddball theory about fingers: The index finger is perfectly proportioned to fit inside your nostril to allow for using your finger to clear it out...in other words so you can pick your nose.

I've yet to encounter someone who defied this theory--someone who could not fit their finger in their own nose. However, I've found lots of cases where people have tiny nostrils and long skinny fingers to match or gigantic nostrils and huge, sausage fingers.

I think we're designed to be able to pick our noses.

For that and many other reasons fingers are incredibly useful tools.

But that is just my crazy theory.

Ember said...

Ah, the foresight of God . . .

BLD in MT said...

Yes, thank heavens for that.

Ember said...


Buzzfloyd said...

Actually, I recall reading about some research (I think in Japan?) the results of which support the nose/finger theory! I think they found that picking your nose is also good for your health, but I'm afraid I can't remember the details.

Ember said...

Interesting! Similarly the little finger has been observed by many to provide the same service for ears. The Latin name for the little finger, "digitus auricularis" was the for this reason (though it was also called, more boringly, digitus minimus and digitus quintus, for obvious reasons).

Donna said...

Teehee, I think I recognize some of those little fingers! (Actually, I'll be honest, it's the fabric of the dress that's familiar.)

And Buzzfloyd, I'm not sure what's going on with the male/female proportions thing. I wear men's gloves which, although capacious in width, are the perfect length for my fingers. *sigh* Yet more evidence that I may be part man.

Sorry to keep commenting on old posts - you're so prolific now that it's hard to keep up!

Ember said...