My hands are beat up. I guess that shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but the combination of old scars and new wounds (fine, they’re more like boo-boos, but whatever) represent the bulk of the physical hardship of living out here.
The quarter-sized scar on the back of my right wrist is courtesy of the wood stove, as is the small scab on the back of my right thumb. Next to the burn on my thumb are two little marks where large splinters were pulled out. The back of my left thumb knuckle got skinned the other day while cleaning the chimney. And my left middle finger got nailed grabbing wood out of the shed.
There are also the pre-cabin scars like the one on my index finger from where the first knife I owned folded up on me while I was up in the apple tree at my parent’s old house. Plus the one on my right palm that ended with seven stitches after jamming my hand into a pile of broken glass at the bar during work.
There’s no doubt about it, my right hand takes the brunt of my abuse. I just read “The Old Man and The Sea” and that had a similar theme, but the old man thought his left hand was weak and stupid. He relied on his right hand and never had any doubts about its usefulness. I don’t think my left hand is useless, and in fact I have to admit that if I was going to lose a finger, I would prefer that it came from my right hand. I need all the fingers on my left hand to play guitar.
One nice thing about the mildness of this winter, so far anyway, is that my feet haven’t been as frost bitten as I thought they would be. I developed frost bite on my feet years ago. Cramming my feet into ill-fitting and stiff down hill ski boots and skiing over one hundred days per year pretty much sealed my fate. I should have chosen boots that were comfortable, but I wanted racing boots even though I sucked at racing and was only on the team to get the free skiing. The tables have turned now, and since I no longer get free skiing, I no longer get frostbite. Truth is, I’d rather hit the slopes and deal with the frostbite.