No Wonder My Hand Looks Old
by Steven McCabe
I took photos this summer of flowers. They looked like flying bees. Or bee-like entities.
Sitting outside in a cafe patio this past weekend with my Hypnogogia Book 1 & Book 2 drawing collective buddies Charles and Marc I touched a tickle on my knuckle. Then a yellow jacket bit me. I think he bit me and stung me. Didn’t feel bad at first. At three in the morning I woke up with a swollen hand filled with pulsing needle-like pain.
Made a paste with baking soda. Soothing. The paste was dried in the morning on the plastic lid like terrain on a fragile planet. The powdery planet or maybe the paste planet.
My hand puffed-up like a blow fish. From one little bite! Or sting! Or both. What shocked me the most was how old my hand looked. How both hands looked old. The bigger and the lesser. In other news Bob Dylan is 80.
Last night I watched one of those ‘reaction’ videos. Younger people react to older songs. One guy loved Dylan singing One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) in Rolling Thunder Revue.
Dylan brought his Rolling Thunder Revue to Toronto Dec. 1 & 2, 1975. One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) is on the playlist both nights. I don’t remember which of the two nights I went. It was a long time ago. No wonder my hand looks old.
When I was a boy in the Missouri Ozarks I disturbed a yellow jackets’ mansion down some secret hole in the dirt. They attacked. At that moment the mailman walked up and said, ‘You’re not going to let those little things bother you are you?’
I remember amber-coloured sorghum syrup in a tin gallon can. Maybe aluminum. I remember tapping down the lid. We spread sorghum on bread and poured it over pancakes. Sorghum likes to grow in thin clay soil. Missouri has a lot of thin clay soil. When they boil down the grain for syrup it’s called ‘the long sweetening.’
I said this to myself right now in the cadence of the voices I heard as a boy. The long sweetening. Sounds like a phrase from long, long ago. No wonder my hand looks old.