The world according to Gnome

July 20, 2008

It’s oddly comforting to walk along my street and see the Gnome. He’s always there, sheltered inside the hollowed-out base of a tree.

He’s been there longer than the five years I’ve been walking past. His expression never changes, even when vandals spray-painted him black and broke his arm, or passersby deposited flowers at his feet. But is he happy with what he sees, despite the ever-cheerful expression? Does he see what transpires “out there?”

I’ve noticed that the Gnome’s window on the world, Northeast 11th and Thompson in Portland, seems to be closing ever so slowly. And is it my imagination that his perpetual smile is beginning to look a bit strained?

If the tree eventually closes around him, I imagine him there in the dark, no painted on smile required. A somber little creature waiting for a glimmer of light.