Pondering the Importance of Digits

January 11, 2009

090109FingercutLeft: The injured digit in a poorly wrapped "knuckle bandage." A sketch from my journal, 1.9.09. I used a .7 Staedtler Pigment Liner and light washes of gouache. Click on the image to see an enlargement.

Trying not to type much these days, but not wanting to break my writing streak so I wanted to post this quick sketch I did of my cut finger. (Nothing gross, Ricë doesn't have to look away.)

Several weeks ago my friend Wendy hurt her hand very badly. I had repeated moments of sympathetic cringing every time thoughts of it popped up in my mind. We all depend on our hands for so much. Whether it is to type this post, or sketch a line, or form a loaf of bread. I won't Rollerblade because I'm convinced I'll fall and sprain (or brake) a wrist (and frankly if you had seen me ice skate in college you'd be convinced too).

I have 15 textblocks waiting to be cased in. Now they will have to wait longer. I can't work with bandaged fingers because I get glue on everything. Normally I spend down time beading, can't do that. Can't make bread unless I put one of those rubber finger covers (cots?) on the bandaged finger; went to do that and the ones I had were so old they all broke when I pulled them on—it has been a long time since I've injured a finger.

I don't want to give the impression I'm whining about this. I am so grateful that my moment's distraction (I allowed someone to talk to me while I had a sharp moving implement in my hand!) didn't end up with a worse result. I'm simply finding myself in that position of pondering how I get things done. People have far greater injuries and circumstances to over come, many far less transitory.

I try to be present in the moment. I practice being grateful (I have a lot to be grateful for). But I was struck this week with the knowledge that even such practices can become stale if we don't watch out. There are so many things that are positives in our lives that we so take for granted they don't even make it on our gratitude radar.

Today I am looking around to find some of those positives and celebrate them before they fade below the radar into the normal noise of consistent life.

I'm enjoying peeling my Clementines without all my fingers (are they the best citrus invention or what—all the flavor and none of the fuss). I am doing a lot of reading (no fingers needed there because, Dad, sorry, I have totally abandoned the Evelyn Wood skills you encouraged before—I already was a fast reader and frankly I want to savor the words, another thing to be grateful for). I'm enjoying the way my feet feel in my shoes (those famous spy-evading shoes). Later I'll go out and run errands and be very grateful that the car starts in the cold (aren't new batteries wonderful?). In a couple minutes I'm going to focus on how my hair feels when I braid it (minus the help of one digit). Then I think I'll call a friend and marvel silently over the science of telephones.

Lots of stuff to ponder while I go about my business. I'm going to try to take better care of my fingers. Mostly I'm going to slow down and listen and pick out the specifics in the white noise of my life. 

  1. Reply

    Egads… I hate Exacto cuts.

    I almost froze my digits sketching the Lake Harriet Kite Festival

    Why must artists suffer?

    • Roz
    • January 12, 2009

    I wanted to go to the Kite Festival but had other obligations, all of them warmer, but no drawing time. I’m so glad you got to go and love the piece you posted on

    I think you can be forgiven for coloring at home.


    • Pica
    • January 12, 2009

    Ouch. I did this to myself in November (account: It healed quickly, though, thanks to the advice of my sis-in-law who told me to keepit wet not dry, not to let it scab over. (This seems completely unintuitive but it healed REALLY fast, dressed twice a day with 50/50 hydro peroxide/water then neosporin.)

    • Roz
    • January 12, 2009

    Thanks Pica, I typically heal pretty quickly. I don’t do the neosporin thing though. I have kept new bandages on it and when I checked tonight it doesn’t look pretty, but it is going to be fine. I think I was able to get it really clean after it happened, in part because it bled a lot. I would like a cat to hold though, I think that would make it a whole lot better!!!!

    • Velma
    • January 13, 2009

    Roz–this won’t help unless you have special knowledge, or connections, but once at Jim Croft’s a fellow student suffered a bad knife cut. Another student from NY City brought a magic Chinese medicine powder that was poured right into the wound. This was repeated several times, but the next day the cut was better and the second it was healing nicely. I have no idea what it was called, but I witnessed the cure.

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