I have been turning spinning top toys on my wood lathe. I am planning on taking an assortment West when I visit my niece and nephew. My nephew is quite young and considering distance and exposure I am probably more stranger than kin. West is a plane trip so there are few visits.
In my mind I only met my great-grandmother once. I can still picture the rocking chair and sense the dimness of the corner she was near. What I recall most were her hands on my young face. She was blind for much of her life but I see lessons only a disability could teach.
I have learned that each face is different but we all feel the same. Rough, cold, smooth, sticky, hot and sharp feel the same to us all. Hunger, sadness and laughter are common experiences as well.
When I spin a top I can’t take my eyes away other than to glance at my watch as I time the odd good throw. I smile somewhere deep inside if not outwardly. I hope what I have shaped with my hands will touch my niece and nephew the same way. I hope they smile. Several of the tops are made from a discarded but well loved railing post. I picked it up for free and knew I wanted to use it for making tops. I told the woman who gave me the post that many hands would continue to touch this piece of wood.
I learned that we touch more than we see. The things we do and words we convey, even a simple gesture may seemingly touch only one person but like my great grandmother’s hands or the railing post how we make someone feel spins in perpetuity.
I hope to leave some sort of impression on my young niece and nephew. They won’t carry my picture or remember the words I have spoken to them but if I can connect them to the magic, suspense, and laughter that fly from a spinning top I think it might be like me running my hands over their faces.