My world is full of handles. They jump out at me and announce their presence, waiting for a hand to touch them. Body parts are opening out all the time during training, and right now my hands are edging into the limelight. Of course it’s all connected together, as release in one part allows something else to let go. My arms are finding their connection with my back, and I’m noticing the effect in my hands.
The handles I’ve seen vary in shape, and I approach them differently. Some are metallic, delicate, inviting to the touch and well matched to the size and weight of door they have to open. Others give clues before you lay a finger on them – fitting easily to an imaginary hand and anticipating a light push away or a gentle turn to left or right.
One asks for downward pressure from the thumb at the top to lift a latch behind the door, while the rest of the hand fits comfortably round the handle below. The positioning and craftsmanship of both suggest only the softest of touches is needed to enter the secret garden behind the wooden door.
I’ve seen door knockers as well – two hands and one fish. These are made of sterner stuff, requiring firm treatment to resonate through the building and wake a sleeping household. But there’s a humanity and lifelike quality about the metal hands and I see how I could gently shape my own fingers round as I knock.
Shop and office handles vary widely, and their doors are not always easy to enter. Some are wide open, inviting me in hands-free. Not all are accessible, and it can be hard to find the way in. It isn’t always clear if I should push, pull or move closer and wait for the doors to open. Typewritten signs on the glass – Push to Open or Automatic Doors – suggest other customers find it confusing too. The doors are larger and heavier than domestic ones with substantial handles encouraging effort and strain.
Handles are coming to the fore because I’m ‘unlearning’ the way I normally grip with my fingers – tight and with too much effort. My hands are becoming less harsh, more open and alive, and I’m beginning to use them in a lighter, easier way. My thinking is changing too. I’ve not been paying attention and have assumed doors are heavy and I must use effort. Instead I need to meet each handle as it comes, and give myself time to unlearn the old ways. I’m losing my grip and that’s the way it has to be.