Crone Hands

August 13th, 2011

The SC was mesmerized when this photo appeared, along with similar images, on ‘That’s Not My Age’ (click here), a blog located in London that I admire and follow.  Alyson’s creation is elegant, witty and beautifully written. These photos reminded me that I have always appreciated my hands for all that they do for me; they have served me well, making it possible to blog, put together an outfit, pick out the hat of the day, and participate in the power of touch.  I remember clearly during the first year (that would be 1961) of my registered nursing program, one of my instructors commented that my hands were dextrous (I was performing a procedure for the first time).  It was a remark that I have never forgotten, and I considered it a treasured compliment.  According to the dictionary, the definition of dextrous is ‘demonstrating neat skill, esp. with the hands.’  Later, in graduate school, one of my professors asked each class member to name a part of ourselves that we loved (it was the early 70’s after all). My response was my hands.  I now realize that I have significant ‘hand history.’

I love to observe hands, including my own.  I see them as an important part of our self expression with their ability to gesture, point the way, physically emote, reach out to others and reflect an aspect of ourselves.  They are also functional, and are a large component of our ability to navigate our environment.  Having worked with people with high level spinal cord injuries at a point in my career, I understand and have observed that some deeply grieve the loss of the hand’s many gifts.  I have always cared lovingly for my nails, an honoring of the part of myself that extends itself without conscious thought into my surroundings.  I consider nail polish just another accessory and I have fun choosing the color of the season with care.   So when I saw the photos of ‘old hands,’ I thought of how the appearance of our hands transitions over time, and how important it is to love these changes as we age.  Our culture doesn’t appreciate this transformation; it takes extra effort, conscious thought and acceptance to love the more visible veins, evolving skin appearance and texture, increasingly prominent knuckles and the heightened pigmentation of age spots that magically appear over the years.  The tree has no judgement of its leaves, spring or fall. So bring on the nail polish choices and rings classic or quirky, to emphasize my hands, today and into the future, as an expression of self love and appreciation.  Crone hands are to be adorned, embraced and celebrated!

22 Responses to “Crone Hands”

  1. RobinDenning

    We are hand-twins! I feel exactly the same way, in fact I am a little vain about my hands.
    Do you have any hobbies that take advantage of your gift? Sewing is enjoyable, hint-hint.

  2. Carolyn Fineran

    This is the longest “Crone Comment” so far…and a delightful way to start my morning, with peach naiils, large siver ring and bracelet to remind me of these gifts. Thanks!

  3. Veshoevius

    I saw this on That’s not my Age too – a very moving photo, they speak of a life lived in full – wonderful post about all we take for granted about our hands!

  4. Rebecca

    How beautifully written. Although I do appreciate the things my hands can do,
    I am generally lax in the grooming and care of my nails and hands. I have
    always admired beautiful hands and nails but my nails have always been difficult
    to keep neat – they always crack and chip. I will try to do better in the future
    to give them the care they deserve.

  5. Rebecca

    One other comment about hands – I love the blog Advanced Style. Recently they had a video with a 79 year old woman “Joyce”. I was so taken with the expressive and beautiful hand gestures she made in describing her style. Quite like a ballerina.
    I am also very aware of how people walk. Many I observe shlump along with bad posture and ungraceful motion. When I see movie clips from the 40’s and 50’s the women glided along beautifully. You can wear beautiful clothes and look inelegant if posture and grooming are poor.

  6. SizzleandZoom

    I agree with everything you said. I wish I had been born with beautiful hands but I wasn’t. The man I married has nice hands and my daughter. I admire theirs and work with mine.

  7. Pam @over50feeling40

    Every night I rub beeswax all over my hands in an attempt to keep them youthful. It really does help…but this photo reminds me of how beautiful the seasoned hands can look. maybe now I will not be as obsessive about the night time salve as I have been.

  8. Tiffany

    I love hands too. Mine have been somewhat crone-like since I was young, and I used to be self-conscious, but now I am proud of them. They knit, they sew, they embroider, they cook, they type … I am grateful for all I can do with them.

  9. Jean

    I also saw the photos on her blog and loved them! I remember when I was very young pressing the veins on my mother’s hands and recently my 3 yr old grandson did the same to me. I too have watched my hands age; they are sinewy with prominent veins, just like my mother’s. At 89 she hates her hands, and it breaks my heart. These are the hands that felt my forehead when I was sick, tied my shoelaces, and pointed out words in the dictionary.

    These pictures are so beautiful. I’m going to show her your post because maybe, just maybe, after reading it, she’ll see her hands a little differently. At least she’ll know how I see them.

  10. WendyB

    Love this…like Tiffany above, I never had great looking hands…and they’re certainly getting worse, but it’s never been something that bothered me. Once in a while someone makes a rude comment about them and I’m always shocked that, on top of everything else, some fool expects me to be worried about my hands!

  11. Lonnie

    Lovely – like your hands.

  12. Terri

    What a beautiful post this is. I know when I first met my husband, it was his hands that I was most attracted to. He has worked as a carpenter most of his adult life and his hands reflect that kind of work–strong, gnarled, and with BIG thumbs. When we purchased a new vehicle a year ago, a woman from the dealership’s business office sat down with us briefly. She immediately sized up my husband’s hands, but could not place my line of work. My nails are kept short and unpolished, though I have the long fingers of a pianist. Dextrous hands ARE something to appreciate.

  13. Linda

    A beautiful photo, and another wise essay. Thank you, SC.

  14. That's Not My Age

    Beautifully written SC, thank you so much for the mention!


    I had just arrived, and had to say hello to my dearest.

  16. Rose

    What a beautiful post! And it reminds us that there is always beauty in the world, if we but have the eyes to see it. A friend visited me yesterday, and she has the most beautiful hands I have ever seen. And so expressive! When she talks they fit around like butterflies.

    I think I’ll take some photos of my new ring for a future blog post. Really enjoyed the blog: “That’s Not My Age.” Thanks for introducing it to me.

    Much love from England,

  17. Rosy

    This post left me thinking … I like it very much my hands, I think they are small and drab, however, I am aware that these hands can do beautiful things and bring to a final all the things I imagine do, so I feel I am very grateful having nimble hands, now they like me a little more …. Thank you for opening my mind …

  18. Paula

    What a beautiful photo! And hands do show the passing of time as do our faces. We have big hands in our family–
    Ihave afriend who is a hand model–gorgous hands–but no special talents like dexterity!

  19. Shelley

    Judith, what a lovely post! I notice people’s hands, primarily because I’m looking at their jewellery. I have a wonderful collection of large, unique silver rings that I wear all the time, so people often notice my hands. I find myself examining the age spots that have appeared over the last few years, and am reminded of the statement that you can always tell the age of a woman by her hands. I find men’s hands very sexy, especially if they build or create things with them.

  20. Serene

    I have a confession to make. I don’t take very good care of my hands. My cuticles get dry. I pick at them til they bleed. I forget to lotion them….it’s shameful. My mother always had the most BEAUTIFUL hands. Nails always filed and polished in oval shape. It was a pleasure to watch her touch things. Your post has inspired me!! Our hands are what reach out and touch the world around us…and we do honor that by taking care of them.

    My favorite line of your amazingly beautifully written post: “The tree has no judgement of its leaves, spring or fall.” Why oh why are we so judgmental of our bodies? Thank you! Thank you for this! Hug! ~Serene

  21. Terra

    Judth–Thank you so much for reminding me of how wonderful and beautiful my hands are!
    You are an inspirational writer and I’ve shared this with my fans on Facebook.

  22. Susan Tiner

    I love this post, and try to treasure my hands, especially after the years it took to rehabilitate them from a severe case of tendonitis. It is important to rest our hands. We expect so much from them, too much sometimes.

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