Touch



The summer allowed me little by little to loosen the grip of my hands. Time usually rushes me like a pinch: acceleration weighs. There is nothing light-hearted about it. I caparison myself in order to be able to go quickly. Not allowing yourself to be reached is the leitmotif of those who run to the success of their goals. Me, I need to stop to live according to the right rhythm. My palms dipped in the sand, I feel it would be pointless to try to count all the grains – I’m not talking about holding them back. More is always given than can be received.

Maybe we are too distracted to welcome what is happening? Do we even take care to let ourselves be touched by what we receive? Because to be touched – which at first glance seems passive – it is still necessary to be sensitive. And for that, it is not really a question of being active, but of being attentive. During the day, have you tried to smell the wood of the table you are eating at: is it rough, is it waxed? The fabric of your shirt, what effect? The bathroom rug? They are not all made of rubber; some are plump of thick cotton. I hear some who say to themselves, it’s not just meditating, it’s feeling, it’s enjoying. Oh, carefree humanity! Even… I know merchants and artisans who do their business like this. They make up their minds after having weighed things well, having taken them in hand, feeling them. They felt whether the grain was good, the canvas sufficiently solid, the paste as smooth as one could wish, the plaster still fresh. To act without letting yourself be touched, you amputate yourself much more than with both hands. Jesus Christ had them knotted like a carpenter’s. “A woman touched me” : Jesus felt it without even seeing it. My hands can caress the world. I receive it with tact and find my place there without stealing it from others. Creation withers when I let my hands fall on it to take it all. Lovers know it. They bond with each other: the warmth of their palms promises to ward off the chilling threat of grabbing hold of each other.

In one of his poems, Hold, Eugène Guillevic (1907-1997) evokes with simplicity the pebble that we have held. A blade of grass suggests everything that passes through our hands, to which we befriended, and which we could keep with us, as if to go away together. Hand in hand, I would be tempted to say. Guillevic writes: “Everything we’ve held / In his hands together // To add weight / Of confidence and appeal // To swear under the sky / That getting lost is easy.” “ (Sphere, Gallimard, 1963)

What if the hand asked me this most common question: What do you care? What holds you? The instrument of taking, as the dictionary defines it, is also a sign of our vulnerability. The hands are the organ of prayer: they beg, they bless, but above all, I believe, they receive: “We will have held everything / In close hands”, concludes Guillevic. The hands form a fan to provide a setting for the horizon. Far from closing, the joining hands are the opening of the heart. This is how I am touched.

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