When I was little, I thought the lines on Daddy made him look old and worn like one of his saddle blankets full of stains and rips. Both had seen better days. Now I understand each line helped him earn the spurs to be a farmer and cowboy.
A river delta of wrinkles at the corners of his eyes cut deep from hours of squinting against the sun’s ruthless pounding as he guided the plow down one row and back up the next, sun up until sundown, just trying to put food in our bellies. The lines worked their way across his brow to a canyon between his eyes. Which bills were stamped red? Which ones could be put off?
A crisscross of scars marked the backs of his hands and drew a roadmap of his life against the ripple of sinew and weathered skin. The bite of barb wire. The burn of the branding iron. Too many scars to remember their origin, too many years to fade the memories.
The creases on his palms captured the dirt from the day and smeared across his forehead as he swiped at the sweat. Every drop a payment on life. Tears not wept from his eyes.
As my own body fills with its own lines, I see it’s not about being rode hard and put away wet. It’s about wisdom and experience. It’s the story of your life. It’s about doing your best and hoping it will be good enough.