Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects including education and creative writing.
The shadows stretched across the lawn, signaling that another day was coming to an end. But this meant little to the gnome that kept a constant vigil near the flower bed. His brightly colored eyes never wavered as it kept watch on the St. Augustine grass. His arms didn’t rise to deflect the afternoon light’s last assault onto his acrylic-glossed boots, pointed-hat, gray-white beard and red suit.
He stood as he had always done for so many years; alone at the edge of a lawn in a planter, guarding various arrays of flora that blossomed and withered with the changing of every season. And through it all, he stood -- a stoical being -- through blistering heat, pounding rain, and smothering snow, never blinking an eye, never complaining
He dreamed while keeping his vigil. And that dream was undeterred, until the sprinkler system came to life and shot a dose of water onto him
But, on this particular end of the day, he sighed. It had been an unusually hard day. A roaming dog relieved itself at his feet. An errant newspaper thrown from the delivery boy missed him by inches.
But these were not the things that bothered him. It was the collection of kids passing by on the sidewalk on the other side of the lawn. Many were taller than him, but there were others near his size. He saw them numerous times during the day, running, yelling, playing and having fun!
“Where are they going?” That question always played in his ceramic head
Usually, he saw them coming from one end of the lawn to the other. His view was limited, and usually, they were just blips in his long and collective memory. But, these were memories he lived over and over.
The reason was that they provided a mystery (as well as a diversion) from his mundane life. They were going somewhere – something he couldn’t do. He wanted to know what type of world they were living in. Not only that, he wanted to experience the thrill of walking, running, screaming, and playing.
He dreamed while keeping his vigil. And that dream was undeterred, until the sprinkler system came to life and shot a dose of water onto him.
“Oh yeah,” he thought as this reality dribbled down his body. “This is what life is all about. And there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Extra: What are Gnomes?
Most of us know them as figurines found in many gardens throughout suburbia. They're fun, whimsical and decorative, and it comes as no surprise they are brightly painted. .
However, gnomes have a long, varied history in folklore and mythology. Although they may vary in size and appearance, gnome are generally known as woodland spirits in ancient Europe. They are akin to dwarfs and elves. Also, like many mythological creatures, they may have magical powers.
The word itself is derivative of Greek root words. It's unclear which word served as its origin. One word, "gnosis" means knowledge. The other is genomos, which means "earth-dweller."
As guardian of forested areas, it comes as no surprise that people have gravitated toward these mythological beings. They may be lawn ornaments, but for some they were made to stand vigil as true guardians of the neighbor's lawn.
© 2014 Dean Traylor
Tillie's Tales from India on July 28, 2020:
Very interesting and sensitive hub. Gnomes and dwarfs have always been part of our growing up years but contained within the pages of the fairy tale books.
Thank you for letting us in, inside his mind, and sharing his thoughts. For the first time, we feel the sadness and the pain that gnomes and others of his ilk feel about being denied small pleasures that we take for granted. All the time stoically doing their duty of keeping vigil in the garden while the world went about their business without even noticing him!
A perfect example of "They also serve who stand and wait."
Kudos, Dean Taylor. Look forward to more.
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on April 17, 2020:
I loved this !!! The secret vigil life of a gnome :) My favorite part was the sprinkler that got him wet and he said "Oh Yeah". I laughed out loud :) Thank you for sharing this perfectly cute flash fiction.
parwatisingari from India on September 17, 2014:
These sound very similar to our concept of Yaksha.