Musing on Spots

This morning, my four-year-old granddaughter was sitting half in my lap and half on the arm of the chair and we were examining hands. She asked what the big bump was, and I said it’s my wrist bone. We then looked for her wrist bone, which is much smaller and nestled in flesh. But by bending and twisting her hand we were eventually able to see that we do both have wrist bones.

We then considered a black spot about two inches NE from my wrist bone. Why is that there? “It’s just hanging out,” I said, “wondering why that little girl keeps asking why it’s there.” We began an examination of her body, for I was sure I’d seen a little mole but up, down, and around, we couldn’t at first find any spots, just smooth very light brown skin. Finally I spotted a little dot. “Why is that there?” To make your skin more interesting.

From spots we moved on to lines–first, those on the backs of my hands, which she can push this way and that, and sometimes they stay where they’re pushed. Those, I answered her, are wrinkles. We pushed her flesh every which way, but no lines appeared and it always came right back to where it started. But on our palms we had more success in finding similarities. We counted the big lines and found that she has three clear and deep lines on one hand and four on the other. I too have three, maybe four, on each palm.

Why are you wearing that ring? Why don’t you put it on your pinkie? What are those, she asked, rubbing a blue and slightly puffy vein that runs over across the northwest corner of my hand and up to the index finger. Veins, I said, pointing to the inside of her elbow. Where did you get that? referring to my Tibetan string. From India, blessed by the Dalai Lama. It shows solidarity for the Tibetans in prison and exile.

What does that mean, so-li-dar-i-ty? It means that you care about what happens to someone else.

What’s in there? referring to the yellow birdfeeder filled with thistle seeds. Stistle seeds? Yes, those are the seeds that little birds, like sparrows and finches like. “This-soul?” Yes, like that.

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