Friday, June 10, 2005

My Travails with Gnomes and Zen Gardening

A couple of years ago, on one of my expeditions through the local dollar store I found myself drawn to this rosy cheeked face.

I don't like gnomes much. Never liked garden ornaments that looked like fantasy creatures. Often they looked creepy, or worse the kind of thing that really belongs in a graveyard for little souls. Those are such tragic places, calling it the "Angel's Garden" never helped me at all. I could sense only grief and weeping.

This little gnome with his all-knowing world-wise face, reminiscent of Buddy Hackett I could not turn down, not for a dollar. Eventually this odd little creature inspired a little woodland fantasy gardening of my own. Even spilling into other pots and boxes.

Of course all relationships come to an end, some suddenly. I had thought perhaps my large often clumsy dog might topple the plat pot and send Buddy tumbling. Not the dog, Buddy survived the dog. It was my granddaughter, Maya, visiting with me for mother's day

Maya was paying with the dog on the balcony. There was the sound of broken pottery on the pavement below. It was not the dog, he was by my side.

The gnome was missing. I picked bits of buddy from the pavement. The little hand that held the incense, his fat little belly, his scrunched up little face. the rest were almost dust and quickly put in the bin. Bits of Buddy were now resting in my desk drawer, I could not bear to toss all of him away. A teapot bunny was immediately put where Buddy was. But as lovely as that teapot might be, it was not Buddy, not even a little.

My daughter apologetically offered to find another gnome. I declined, told her it was just a cheap little gnome. Buddy was just that, an odd little dollar store gnome. My sister came by a few days later and while were out doing errands together, she bought me lovely daisies to put where buddy once stood. We could find no gnome worthy to replace Buddy.

My lovely and off-beat family, a large European style extended family, felt my pain, the very small emptiness now Buddy was gone. Some of course, could not help but remark unkindly that it was an ugly little gnome and Maya showed good taste by pitching it off the balcony. In my reasoned moments I knew they were right, but my heart knew no reason when it came to this stupid little gnome.

It was a mission to replace the gnome. After the daisies came this odd gnome, still nameless. How could you help but laugh on first seeing it?

I gave him a face and a crown of flowers, and hope he will, in time, mean as much to me as Buddy did. Without the face, well, I'm a single old woman, and people will talk.



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