I was in Sunriver vacationing with my family. We stayed in a beautiful home out in the woods of the Oregon high desert. One morning, Mistress Muse nudged me with her fuzzy slipper. “Get up” she said. “I have something to show you.” We took a quick walk in the brisk morning air. “Look” she nudged. I was still pretty groggy so I didn’t know what she was talking about but then I saw….a stump. wow.
“No! LOOK.” Then I saw a gnome. Not the Nordic Gnomes that one traditionally sees in books but a true Oregon High Desert Gnome. They don’t like their picture taken so I promised to only take pictures of their homes…usually large stumps and fallen logs. I did get permission to draw them so I’ll have to get to work on the sketches soon.
They’re actually hard to see and quite elusive. Covered in silvery bark vests and pinecone pants, they wear reindeer moss and sasquatch fur on their hats…just in case one of us Biggies (that’s what they call us) happens to be blundering around. It helps camouflage their flaming red hair. Most of them run around barefoot but a few will wear woven sage slippers. They spend most of their days herding ants, negotiating chipmunk quarrels and drinking deer beer (it smells bad but makes them very jubilant). They say the Deschutes Brewery makes a fine beer but deer beer is their favorite libation.
No. It’s not a High Desert Gnome…it’s Anie! She really loved their homes and found them very easy to spot and chat with. I think her short stature made it easier for them to show off. Her visit was grand until they offered her deer beer and then I had to step in.
Later that evening, I was invited to the Deschutes River for a paddle boat race and deer beer festivities. The paddle boats were fashioned from woven cat tails hitched to red wing black birds. To the naked eye, it just looked like birds flying across the water but if you looked closely, you could see these crazy little Desert Gnomes with their hats off and red hair flying. I passed on the deer beer. Did I say it smelled bad?