Photo by Penywise on Morgue File
Textures are everywhere: The rough edges of a stone wall. The smooth innocence of a baby’s cheek. The sense of touch brings back memories for us. What texture is particularly evocative to you?
I find smells tend to transport me back in time more so than touch. However, for me there are a few touch sensations that bring back memories. One is the feel of a homemade aphgan. My Nanny (my maternal grandmother) would make handmade aphgans. When I touch one I remember watching her, sitting in her chair, making one of these covers. I remember its warmth on cold nights, especially during the holidays. An aphgan is comfortable, but it has a coarseness to it. It takes much work and craft to be able to make one. She did several.
Another touch that brings back memories to me is the feel of a wrench or ratchet in my hand. My uncle (my mother’s brother) taught me the trade of auto repair. At a young age, I started working in his garage and learning the trade. When I started, I knew nothing of cars. I was several years short of sixteen years old, so I had never even driven a car yet!
But, with instruction (and I’m sure lots of patience!) he taught me the trade. It reminds me of that old saying that goes something like this: Give a man a fish and you will feed him for one meal. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime. That is what my uncle did for me. He did not just give me a fish, though this would have been easier and faster; instead, he taught me to fish. He gave me the tools and know-how to use the rest of my life.
One last one I can mention, is the feel of hay. My dad raises cattle. And, as a boy, I would help gather in the hay bales out of the pasture. (Now, hay is mainly rolled and a tractor is used to gather it in.) It was always hot. Bits and pieces of hay and straw would be in the air, choking you as you tried to breathe in the arid air of late summer. Hay is coarse and sharp. You walk and lift and throw and stack. Then, you take it to the barn and do it all over again.
It was a joke when I was younger that I started hauling hay even before I was born. My mother, pregnant at the time, drove the truck in the field.
It is not easy work. You sweat and bleed. Hay naps in your hair. Dirt clings to your moistened skin. Your eyes redden with the hay and dust in the air. Your throat restricts as you cough in the pollutants. Even still, it was worth it. It teaches you about life and work and using your hands. There are many life-lessons to be learned in hauling hay. And you never forget the pricks in your hands and on your arms.
Some scars are sacred and welcomed.