My uncle was a typical old man . The lines in his eyes carried so much laughter while the lines on his forehead failed to mask his worries . Each time he came to visit us , I would run into his frail arms and squeeze him with my macho hug . He would laugh and then say I am hurting him . I ’ m certain , he was stronger than he looked . Perhaps the best memory I have of him was at his birthday many years ago .
As I fed him the cake , he held my stubby fingers and asked , “ What is this ?”
The Finger : Understanding Nothingness
I scrunched my eyebrows “ It ’ s my finger .”
“ Yes , but what is it ?”
“ It ’ s a joint , I can move it . I can use it to hold things …”
“… yes , yes , but what is it ?”
“ It ’ s some skin , muscles and tiny bones .”
He placed his time-chiseled hands on the table and began folding in all his crooked fingers one by one .
“ Try to imagine this . If I take away the skin …. and then the muscles …. and now all your tiny bones …”
I looked at him . It wasn ’ t about anatomy . It wasn ’ t even about the finger .
He looked intently at me with the map of wrinkles foregrounding his experiences .
“ Now , this finger is …. What ?”
My uncle was a typical old man — so much more than the sum of his parts .
LINE : Locate the nervous system . How does it move ?