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Green Acre #424: Dirty Fingers (in a Good Way)

Dogwoods at the National Arboretum, this year perhaps even more than last, are simply spectacular. / Photo by Stephanie Cavanaugh.

By Stephanie Cavanaugh

I HAVE GOT to stop gardening with my fingers. The problem being that my tools are never to hand when I get inspired to pull, or poke, or nip, or whatnot. My fingers always are. The result being, my nails are chipped and ingrained with dirt, usually not noticed until I have to shake or reach for a menu or pass a buck or four (!) over for coffee. Then, shame. 

I’ve tried manicures and can usually resist digging for a day or so, waving my paws in front of my eyes, admiring. Then I catch sight of younger hands, frequently my daughter’s, so lovely and soft and clean and . . . 

Damn! That dirt hides a multitude of aging sins.

Did you know people get elbow lifts? When I say “people,” I mean women, or mostly women. That, next to hands, the elbow is the most visible sign of aging? You probably haven’t noticed, and won’t thank me when you look in the mirror, but your elbows are as saggy as your boobs. A little (lot) of weight work can do something for the batwings, but the elbows? Surgery is required.

They can replace the fat pads on the soles of your feet too.

Don’t ask me where I came up with these thoughtful thoughts (it was a long time ago on some Internet wander). On possibly the same wander I discovered that: The older we (women) get, the more we resemble men; and you have to cut your hair short, after a certain age, because from the back you might look too youthful for your years and fool men walking behind you. Perish the thought. Quel embarrassment! For them, when they find themselves wolf-whistling Granny. 

That is all beside the point. Which I think I recall was hand and nail care. Also, gardening.

I did discover a rather nice lotion, on the 50% off rack at Safeway, which is on the way to the ladies’ room with those high-powered driers that cause the backs of your hands to shimmy. Olay’s Collagen Peptide Firming and Hydrating Lotion. While it smells like overripe tropical fruit, when I used it last night, my paws looked rather nice this morning. Even with the ingrained dirt and chips and such. Soft dirt.

Speaking of gardening, which I suppose I’m doing: It looks like a perfect set of days to get some stuff in the ground and move other stuff about. Despite the rather brilliant sunshine this morning, the weather is supposed to turn, with cool and rainy days right through the weekend. 

It’s the kind of weather that encourages seeds to settle in and annuals to wriggle their little limbs in the soil and prepare to blast off into summer’s heat. No hose required.

Note: Azaleas, roses, and lilacs are flowering fabulously. The perfect place to see them if you’re in or near the nation’s capital? The National Arboretum. If you can find a patch of sun in the next few days, pack a picnic and go.  


3 thoughts on “Green Acre #424: Dirty Fingers (in a Good Way)

  1. Stephanie Cavanaugh says:

    Thanks Karen. Heading out to lunch with a friend. I think I’ll wear my gardening gloves.

  2. Karen Sternberg says:

    I loved this post! Our hands are our “tools.”

  3. Carol says:

    Thanks for the inspiration! I will make a plan to visit the Arboretum. (never been there in all my years here)

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