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A Letter To My Hips

Updated: Nov 7, 2023


two pieces of art-pencil drawing of a skeleton facing an etching of a skeleton

Recently you’ve been screaming in pain when I get out of the car, or hoist myself up from the sofa. I’ve tried everything to shut you up--ibuprophen, a chiropractor, acupuncture. I may have reminded you that nobody else complains--my back, neck, knees, hands and feet, shoulders--everybody’s doing fine. Now I’m working with a trainer to build up your strength and flexibility.


He said, “When you feel no pain, remember to be grateful.”


I think of all the miles we’ve walked, on city streets, often in high heels. That couldn’t have been fun for you. All the soccer games, the field hockey. We had so much fun with the Hula Hoop and the Twist.


Please forgive me. I’m sorry I said you were too wide. I should have thanked you for all those soft landings on the ski slopes Oh, and how could I forget; thank you for the easy delivery of two beautiful babies.


I look forward to many more years with you, and I promise to be kinder.


My hip trouble has made me think of this piece by Katy Lyness, my classmate at the Art Students League. The pencil drawing on the left is the preliminary sketch for the etching on the right. I love the way the two images face each other, echoing the way the rib cage and the pelvis face each other.

At the League, everything begins with drawing, drawing begins with the human figure, and that begins with the bones. In life class as you stare at the naked person in front of you, you realize that she’s not naked enough. You’re trying to see through skin, muscle and sinew to the bones.


Katy’s focus on the rib cage and the pelvis, as opposed to the skull, which always creeps me out, illustrates how supportive and protecting our bones are. The rib cage holds the lungs and heart, the pelvis cradles the belly and womb.


I find this so moving; these sheltering loving shapes are like a mother’s arms.


Who designed this miracle? How long did that take?


I believe in God, the creator of the universe, and I believe in Darwin and the theory of evolution. Psalm 90 says in verse 4, and we sing it all the time, “A thousand ages in thy sight are like an evening gone.” Seven days, a billion years. They’re both a blink of God’s eye.


All we have to do is remember to be grateful.


November 26, 2018

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