Every year around this time of the winter season, when the air becomes extra dry and the temperature suddenly drops from one day right on to the next, the skin of my hands and fingers gets all chapped. Cracks and crevices form at various and unpredictable places, especially on or near the knuckles or places where the proper bending and stretching of skin is required for normal motion and gestures. In Dutch they call such a crack using the word "kloof." Interestingly enough, the word "kloof" also means canyon, chasm or rift which is a good description for the microcosm fissure which has formed various painful chaps and chapping points on my hands. Sometimes it gets so bad that these "kloven" open up even deeper and start to bleed, thousands of desperate red blood cells oozing out and escaping to who knows where. I look closely and inspect the situation, almost as if I am flying in my own personal Cessna airplane, arching low along the flatlands and then at a slight angle along the places where the cliffs open up. Yes these are the many cracks of my hand which are opening up, and I am gazing down into the canyon of my skin. The microscopic world has much in common with the amazing beauty of nature's uncertain landscapes.
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