Washerwoman's Fingers

You’re invited to write piece of prose or poetry on the subject of ‘Wrinkled Fingers’.

Let me explain. On Friday, after a hard day, I took a shower, a long shower, to unwind. The spraying water and lavender gel didn’t succeed in completely draining away the day’s tension. But my interest in something else did.

I noticed the tips of my fingers whiten, and then crease and wrinkle under the jet of water. Nothing unusual in that of course. But on Friday, I was mesmerised, because I ‘d just read a fascinating article.


The essence of the article was that wrinkled fingers give a better grip in wet conditions, and that therefore, our ‘washerwoman’s’ fingers’ –and toes for that matter, may be an evolutionary trait designed to help us to survive. The wrinkles would have enabled our ancestors to get a better footing on slippery surfaces when it rained. We’d have been able to gather food from wet vegetation or streams.

Accurate or not, I love this. It re-connects me with my animal nature.

In the shower on Friday, I imagined I made my escape. I scaled the walls of that cubicle like Spiderman, and found a route up through the attic until I hit the sharp chill of the night air. I scuttled over tiled roofs, under the starred sky. I kept going until I found my way back to the space and freedom of the forest.

It was that rather unlikely imaginative leap that cleared the stresses of the day. Nothing else.