Rescue Gnome

Picture by Ryan Kessler

We suspect there is a magic passage under our redwood because the garden gnome who guards the tree by day disappears at night. Important forest matters require his attention. Animals trapped in fire ravaged landscapes. Small fawns and mountain lions equally threatened, equally important to the health of a recovering ecosystem. He treats them all with the utmost care.

By daybreak, our gnome has returned. We see an article in the morning paper. Ten small pumas rescued. Feet wrapped in gauze socks. You wonder how they keep from biting through. Probably the influence of our gnome. His voice is hypnotic.

Gnome Repairs

Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

When five hundred naked gnomes turned up at the Felton Auto Body Shop, the whole town was busy spraying water on their houses and trimming dead grass and trees. Everyone but Fred Hale missed the dispirited group straggling along Main Street.

He expected the little people since they’d phoned. Ready with brushes and gallons of paint, he covered over smoke damage, painting each gnome in traditional red, blue and green colors. Boots were all black. It took a few days, but Fred felt a certain pride. Especially when the freshly painted group appeared on talk shows advocating for prescribed burns.

Welcome Gnome

Photo by Monica McHenney

An innocent mistake, pressing the camera button. The Welcome Gnome on the front steps stirred, his soul waking in the hot California sun.

“Water. Make it a spray, a spate, a mist. Elsewise, you’ll suck the life from this old soul.” The gnome skittered into the shade of an overhang.

The hose sang clear wet.

He wavered, quivering silver like a heat mirage, so that she queried, “Are you okay?”

“Delete the picture.” He hovered, real and unreal. “Stuck in a camera, I’ll shadow to dust. Resting, must, in the garden. There’s a spot for me. I’ll find my way.”

Gnome More Mr. Nice Guy

Photo by Ryan Kessler

The gnome winked. “Disturb you, did we? Meant to, didn’t we?”

Annoyed, I watch the ivy root I’d been hacking slither into the ground.

“Burrow they do. Like rumors they monger, multiply.”

I slump in the dirt. “It seems hopeless.”

“Aye, Whac-a-Mole.”

“Then what, let them take over?”

“Nae, ye be between Odysseus double monsters. Then strap yourself down and through it ye go.”

Churning waters, sailor’s oars pulling strong. A group effort. Is that what he means? “I don’t understand. Is it restraint or escape that let us resist the siren’s song?”

“A bit of both. Then dig in.”

Magical Thinking

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“Drying up. Inspiration drying up. You bury ideas.” A creature not much taller than a toadstool, warty and fobbish…

Gnawing a pencil, I looked and saw a gnome pointing to a well-thumbed dictionary. “Warty I’ll give you, but fobbish. Nae a proper word.”

“Sorry. Am I awake?” I rubbed my eyes and erased fobbish. “So what’s this about?”

Fob settled himself on a nightstand saucer. “What with worry-warting about now, we miss what else. Poets can’t poem. Mathematicians can’t math. Reality can’t real. Every day like the last.”

“I thought it was me.”

“No, us. Together, we grieve it all.”