When you are 3, there’s a lot to learn. And one of the first ways you learn is by touching something.
We had talked about the number of rings on the cottonwood stump and that we could count them to find out how old the tree was (answer; we gave up, that was a pretty old tree!), but it took running his fingers over those ridges for Smalls to really take this understanding to heart. I watched him trace around the bumps and curves, wonder at the wide sections, question the big hole on one side (which was probably the main reason it had been cut down). He stared up at the giant cottonwoods surrounding him, and back at the stump, running his hands over it again.
“This was a big tree, mama,” he said as he ran off to circle the others, trailing his fingers across their bark.
And then we were on to the next thing.