Our hands are what make us human.
We build. We sort. We grip. We gather. We garden. We heal and we feel.
We eat and drink with our hands. We write and we text.
We use our hands to communicate, to celebrate, and to nurture and honour each other.
Our hands have enabled us to survive and evolve.
In image and story, hands symbolize connection and remind us what we have in common - with each other and with our ancestors.
At a recent winter solstice gathering with friends, images of ancient hand-prints from caves around the world inspired something simple but surprisingly powerful. We dipped the palms of our hands in platters of pigmented clay - red from iron oxide or golden from yellow ochre.
The creases and cracks and patterns on our palms were coated in clay slurry then we stamped them on a white cotton cloth. Each hand placement was deliberate. Some were tender. Some firm. Some were messy. All were intentional.
When the cloth was covered with our hand-prints, we hung it up in the garden. From this day onward, it will flutter in the breeze and fade in the sunlight, as do Tibetan prayer flags, until all that will be left are a few shredded threads. Our hand-prints will have long since been released back into the formative patterns of the ether.
Remembered from the past, re-born in the present, and broadcast into the future.