Most people keep their stories and memories in a vast collection of photos, journal entries, memory boxes and on social media time-lines, but most fail to read the details in a scar or wrinkle.

I saw on Facebook a women post a question she asked her costumer. She wondered why the elderly women chose clear nail polish after her manicure. The elderly women explained that the years have not been merciful to her hands, and they were ugly. So the reason why she chose clear nail polish was to ensure attention wouldn’t be drawn to her hands. The poster explained that her hands tell a story, one that has never been told, and will never be told again. Her hands mark each decade she was alive, and it was an enduring part of who she is. Ultimately, she convinced the elderly women to use pink nail polish to draw attention to the story her hands told.

This got me thinking … I don’t have an enormous array of stories folded between the pages of my wrinkles, but I do have evidence of experiences written throughout my body.

I have calyces and scars lining my feet as evidence of the days I danced Pointe, I have stretch marks mapping my legs and butt from long days of testing my flexibility. My tattoos pay tribute to the challenges in my life, or to the connections I have made that I want to keep forever. The experiences my body tells help start new conversations, and is being marked with new one’s that I will bring with me.

So we are lucky to have stories in our journals and on our photos, on our social media accounts and in our memory boxes, our life’s endeavors and our most defeating moments. We are empathetic in reading through scars and wrinkles to see the life of who wears them. We can read them on ourselves and on others. If we take what we’ve learned in seeing each other, we will understand the life of an animal. Because they don’t have social media, or journals and photos, nor do they have memory boxes. They only have their scars and wrinkles, and if we pay attention to the details of their body we may understand a little more about them.

Most of the animals that come to us have no information. We might get their gender and an estimate of age and breed. Past history or stories of their past is rare. As animal lovers, we are always wondering what did they go through, where did they come from, did they ever have someone that loved them? I think we can search for some ideas of these answers in the details of their body, emotions, and just simply taking a second to watch and listen. The map is there, you just have to read it.