The Hands of Creation

My dream says there are three occasions on which made-up words are acceptable:

For the expression of extreme pain, when an unnameable action occurs, for an expression of ecstasy and my waking mind would add:  for play.

Spirit longs to be brought to matter through the act of creation.  Sometimes the act is easy: the poem, the novel even, writes itself.  Other times the birth is hard; then the dull knife cuts, the chisel slips, the torch burns. There is blood and pain or worse.

The young clerk at the little grocery store is able to make change with only one hand, and that hand shows the dull orange scars of healing wounds.  Her other hand is pulled away, her arm carried like a wing, but useless. She fumbles with the dollar bill and the odd change, trying to do it all with one hand. Slow and awkward, she makes no excuse, and persists, but her eyes avoid mine.  I want to help her, to do it for her, but know that such action would shame her.  So I wait.  Where did her injury come from? A fight? A fall? A fire?  Perhaps even some failure of creation.

My change tendered, I leave her thinking about hands, the hands of creation.  The mind envisions, the eye monitors, but it is the hand that creates.  To cut the hide for nine drums from a huge buffalo skin leaves my hands aching all night and leaves me dreaming about pain.

The eye and the mind have the easy part, and they forget the mortal needs of the hand, which is subject to the stresses and strains of the work.

How to make a beautiful oriental rug: Tie the same knot forty thousand times in succession.

—From Alchemy of Willows

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