Sprig Gnome tends his woodland garden. Thistle shears help him prune raspberry canes. He mulches fungus shingles atop his den, waters moss, and collects dinner. Before his basket is full, a shadow darkens the glade. He ducks and dodges but all goes awry. Ida Owl grasps him in her talons, and she lowers her yellow eye.
“I’m done for!” Sprig howls. “Save me!” Will anyone hear him?
“Sprig, save it! I need your help.” Ida Owl grouches. “A splinter in my claw is driving me mad!”
“I see it.” Sprig extracts it with a yank of his thistle shears.
Ida hops side to side, flexing and gyrating. “Oh, what a relief. I must thank you properly. Hop on.”
Is she serious? Can he trust her? Sprig stows his basket. He climbs up her feathers like a ladder.
“That tickles!” Ida giggles. Then she flaps powerful wings. Sprig’s stomach bottoms out as they rise. Winds swirl and flow until Sprig worries that he’s seen his last night. He holds tight. They bank and loop. They hoot and holler. The air smells of crushed apples. He reaches toward stars as if they were snowflakes.
An owl and a gnome make the least-likely of friendships. News travels the meadow like a brush fire. A gnome is riding an owl! Unheard of! Unthinkable! Sequester Squirrel follows, swinging tree limb to ivy vine. Dentbottom Rabbit has to see it with his own rheumy eyes, and his great-granddaughter holds his arm. Dinwald Stag-King brings his large tribe to gape.
When Sprig lands, he feels as if the earth has stopped orbiting the sun. The air is too still. He waves good-bye to Ida, and follows fireflies into his den. His feet find each lump in the maple leaf carpet. His thistledown bed is squashed and untidy. He snips, clips and mixes until his forage stew bubbles and sings. The air fills with the scent of braising brined beetles. But he misses the scent of crushed apples and owl feathers.
Copyright 2016 Brenda Davis Harsham
Note: We’ve been enjoying a lovely thaw like spring is visiting February. It makes me wish I could fly. I hope your dreams take you on fun flights of fancy tonight. Warmly, Brenda