The Hands and the Voice
My father’s hands are rough. They worked their entire life. And they are still at it today, in the garden, in the vineyard and in the forest – after they had worked in the factory for a long time: finally with the computer at a desk, but at first with the file at a workbench.
When I look at my own hands, I wonder how I could use them. As far as I can look down my lineage, until it gets lost in history, I see the hands of my ancestors touching the world and giving its shape.
They constructed and operated machines. They built airfields and highways, train stations and seaports, housing estates and skyscrapers. They interconnected transistors and split the atom. Audio tape and camera. Light bulbs and telegraphs, steam boiler, printing press and gunpowder. They cut glass lenses and drew maps. They counted money and bookkept. Barracks and temples, granaries, walls, and canals. Writing tablet and sundial. They pushed the wheel and set the sail. They shaped bricks and fired pots. They dug the earth and smelted the metal. They tilled the field and cared for the cattle. Combed hair, anointed skin. They painted the walls and buried the dead. They braided and cooked, mixed herbs and carved toys, clapped along the rhythm and pointed as they spoke. They tamed the fire and hewed the stone. They killed the enemy, sacrificed the animal, soothed the child, and plucked the fruit.
Now they covered the eyes as the voice spoke in the garden: For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.