The Spirit Speaks

hand, spirit, writingNo one ever told me that hands become gnarly after too much time in the sun.

My hands are as gnarly as the bark on an old oak tree.

But, at least they’re sun-kissed – the color of a beige antique car.

My hands soar when a story strives to alight from my funny, surprising brain, a brain that is awash with jangled memories and silly jokes, serious worries and spurts of light-filled love.

Isn’t it interesting, how our brain (with some help from our nerves) can cause us gloom as dark as a tunnel, or light brighter than a star?

As the words sprint from my knotted brain through gnarly hands to white-lined paper, a kind of spirituality occurs.

Yes, I see the spirit of me, and you, and all of us, dance and wiggle in front of me.

As a teenager would say, that’s really gnarly.

As an atheist would say, what’s spirit got to do with it?

As a humanist would say, the spirit surrounds those whose eyes are open wide.

As a writer would say, the spirit speaks through our words.


sunrise, San Francisco Bay, spiritual

    I wrote this for a 5-minute creative writing prompt with instructions to use the following  words: spiritual gnarly soar sprint antique.

 Photo by gnarly me on an early morning walk.


62 thoughts on “The Spirit Speaks

    • Thank you, Mary. I just now looked up the definition of gnarly – in Merriam-Webster it says the word means either difficult/bad or very good. Ha Ha. OR, it can mean bumpy or twisted (the definition I was thinking of re my hands). I guess we can use whatever definition fits the mood! 🙂

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    • How often do we stop and really look at our hands? I know I didn’t used to, until one day when I was in the car I stared down at the steering wheel, wondering whose hands those were and who was driving the car! The answer were mine and me. Quite a shocker. :-0

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  1. Your lovely hands have a lot of character, Pam. 🙂

    What an unlikely group of words to use together – makes me think of that cooking show on TV that my husband likes, Chopped. The cooks are challenged to prepare a palatable dish out of odd assortments of ingredients.

    When I was little, I loved to sit next to my grandmother and study her gnarly old hands. They were so warm and welcoming to me, and I loved the way she used them to write letters, take pictures and sort slides, chop food and wash dishes… Mine are beginning to look a lot like hers…


    • Loved your comments here. Great similarity between combining different (odd) ingredients to make a delicious dish, and combining odd words to create a story. In fact, I think I’ll write about baking in my next post. 🙂 What sweet sweet memories you have of your grandmother.


  2. My hands are gnarly too, Pam. I just think of all those years of loving they have given to my children, family and friends (and all that cream I rub on them!). I love your thoughts on spirit 😀


  3. Your hand in the photo looks strong and capable. The subtle pink nail polish is a perfect contrast to your seasoned tan. Hands often offer wonderful gifts. I have magic fingers, so I’ve been told.


  4. Putting ‘gnarly’ in that list was a challenge but you met it beautifully. They don’t look all that gnarly to me but it’s not what they look like but what they do that’s important and I think you’ve got that nailed.


  5. Pamela – you got a whole lot out in a short period of time. Well done! All through quick and nimble movement on the keypad with your healthy hands and fingers.

    Double takes on hands on the wheel? I know the feeling.


  6. No matter what perspective you look at it (and there are as many ways as there are people in the world), spirit is essential to our lives as human beings. Thanks for sharing, Pamela 🙂


    • You always have such a great way of expressing things, Dave. Yes, spirit is what makes us humans. And thank goodness for that. Funny how uncomfortable some are at expressing the idea of spirit. I think we all should embrace and explore our spirits as much as possible.

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  7. Gnarly hands — that’s for sure! All that hand washing, plus I use my fingernails to pry open things, so even my nails are hardworn. But put to good use!

    Nice job with the prompt!


  8. It’s only when I look at my weathered hands or the deepening lines on my face that realize that this ageless spirit lives in an aging body. Oh yes, and when my knees creek and my back aches and when … you get the picture, right? 😐


  9. Well done! You did great in 5 minutes and using the words in a unique way. The hands are almost always the first thing I notice about people… mostly men, but women too. They say so much about a person. You can tell many things by the way the hands look… how it is manicured (or not), clean fingernails (or not… *shiver*) calluses, etc. They tell the story of how that person has lived.. and continues to live their life. Your hands are the perfect “you”~ 😉
    Merry Christmas my friend! I hope it’s a wonderful season for you!
    K/C 🙂

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      • Of that I have no doubt… 🙂
        Most of the time women will keep their fingers clean. Although they may not be manicured. Can be callused or they bite their nails. I get my nails done every two weeks and I have for years and years. It is one of the few things I do for myself. But grooming is a huge pet peeve of mine. Nothing can turn me off faster than a man who bites his nails or has dirt under them! Gaarrroooooossss!!! 😛
        On the other hand, I have see some of the most beautiful hands on a man! 😉


        • And although still a bit unusual, it’s interesting to see a man at my ‘nail salon’ getting a manicure. Quite sure my guy will never do that, but that said, he keeps his hands inordinately clean. 🙂 Happy New Year – I’m off in an hour to a manicure…really!!! xo

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  10. Oh, Pam. So much more came from your simple word choices. Lovely beyond words. Thanks for this. As a “p.s.” ~ my hands are rather “gnarly” but I feel “young again” while I scramble up rocks or pull myself up on a tree branch with one of my six grandies. I see this in you, too. Hugs, Robin


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