When I said in one of my first posts that I was surprised nerves didn’t look any different to other tissue, I realise I was wrong. Once cleaned, you know exactly when you’re dealing with a nerve, it has a clarity to it that no other tissue has.

I was initially surprised that I could even see nerves – nerves were things of touch and sensation and purely object-less. I was surprised that my feeling of a soft brush or massage could be embodied in a physical structure – and a clear, stringy one at that.

I was surprised that a tissue so different to any other in the body wasn’t alive or moving by itself or talking to me.
Nerves bind things, they animate things and collaborate, yet they are just as much a structure as bone or muscle.

When I peel away the dried-PVA sheath of connective tissue surrounding the trigeminal nerve, I am about to touch something that makes eyes feel tired and ready for bed, that feels the wakening splash of water to face and controls the chew of a gelatinous treat. But I slip and my forceps slice into the soft neuronal column; detaching string from base and structure from sensation.