Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sleeping Gnome

This dawn beckons, the first morning of a new year, and yet I find myself reluctant to bid goodbye to the old.  The Year 2013 Of Our Lord was a good year on the Kansas prairie, filled with change and happy moments.  It spanned the building of a barn and the quickening of that simple enclosure's spirit by the addition of  warm-blooded inhabitants to the environs.  It embraced an active and expanding garden, with roses and grasses and shrubs and perennials to satisfy any man and swoon many a maiden.  It connected aging man to growing opportunities, moved impatient gardener closer to Nirvana, and forced change where change needed made.  Experience has added yet another year to this gardener's repertoire, a hedge against the improper choices of youth and recklessness.

On the other face, 2013 brought Japanese Beetles to my garden, and revealed evidence of the existence of  a still unknown creature who likes to root through the soil in search of grubs, destroying iris and daffodil alike.  It brought coyotes, a multitude of white-tailed and quite hungry deer, furry rabbits and long sinuous silent snakes. It oversaw the return of my weed nemesis, the Common Dayflower, to my landscaping, and the rapid advance of a prize blackberry into an impenetrable and unproductive thicket.  It disappointed me with a lack of fruit in the orchard and the disappearance of grapes from the vine.  Snow fell in very late April and Spring was late.  Winter came early in October and deepened in December, shortening the golden period of the garden. 

Perhaps this new year, 2014, is good riddance to the old, best welcomed in its arrival rather than lamented as change.  Today, like the concrete gnome that lays at the foot of my sidewalk, this gardener and his garden rests.  Like the gnome, the garden is cold and dead, brittle and brown from the view of the outside world, inert and languid.  Like the gnome, the aging gardener will also nap today, but indoors, his new resolution to spend at least part of every seventh day this year imitating the gnome, an unread book on his stomach and smiling from a pleasant dream.  With the New Year, and the growing length of each new day, hope and happiness begin again.


  1. Ditto on the 7th day part! Happy new year to your and yours. May your garden be ever productive.

    1. And to yours, Greggo. For a minute there, with your "may your garden be ever productive", I thought you'd been watching Hunger Games with your granddaughter. It was awfully close to "May your garden be ever in your favor"

  2. Your post reminds me of a tale I read a few days ago, enlarging on our cultural symbols of the old year as a tired, old man and the new year as a young, energetic child. The enlarged tale spoke of the wisdom of the old year imparted to the new, and the energy and enthusiasm of the new year shared with the old. May 2014 bring you both wisdom, springing from your many prior years in the garden, and fresh enthusiasm and energy, as the slumber of winter changes into the youth and vitality of spring!

  3. It only takes a ray of Spring sunshine to turn the sleeping gnome into a Garden Sprite ! Not long before the dozing stops !

  4. Happy Holidays, Professor, and may your garden bring you much joy in the new year. I am looking forward to seeing pictures of your roses in bloom again.


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