"I have a ankle!" the wee one triumphantly proclaimed as she heaved-ho-ed up the hill, her thigh stacked on a knee, socketed to the shin, ratcheted to the infamous ankle. Arms outstretched, she balanced about holes and heaps and charged forward. "My brother said," she reported reassuringly, gathering her breath, as she reached the fringe of my blanket and my very own outstretched ankle. "My brother said I have a ankle," she repeated. Between breaths. For emphasis. "Wow!" I bought time, gathering my shock that this little being had sought me out to share the good news. "That's lucky!" I congratulated her. "I have an ankle too! In fact, I have two ankles; see: one, two!" Pointing to my ankles, the wee one's eyes widened as she inspected my counting like a Guinness Book of World Records judge, scrutinizing the skill. "Do you have two ankles?" I inquired. She paused, took three Simon-Says steps to the left, and proceeded to check for a second ankle.
Meanwhile, and nearly simultaneously, I juggled a log rolling session with the bearer of ankle news, the wee one's brother. "You know," I called to the lumpy hedgehog, bowling down the green, "If you stretch out your legs as long as you can, like a giant log, you'll roll faster and easier." "Like this?" he bellowed as he side swiped the wee one, bending over her ankle, now, plus one. "You got it!" I ballooned, the little log, lumbering down the bumpy knoll.
On my blanket island I took pause: what would life be if I embodied the little being's wonder in seemingly pedestrian knowledge, that is, when I think about it, complex and awe-inspiring? What moments might live if I pronounce my wonder to others? What if strangers are as scary as me? Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. And ankles.
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