The forest falls silent as the snowflakes flutter downward. The owl’s wings are muffled beneath the crush of ice crystals stacking mindlessly atop each other, heedless of their collective weight. A branch breaks, a limb is lost. The gnome things hunker down, stuffing their ears with moss against the deafening crash of kamikaze flakes.

I hear nothing and slumber on.

A stoat races across the fallen branch. The owl stretches out her clutching talons as her silent wings beat on. The gnome things cringe as the stoat’s cry penetrates the moss.

I sleep on, mindless in the silence of the snow.

This post was written in response to the Daily Post’s photo challenge “silence”

farewells of the year’s first frost


The green things lay covered with fuzzy white frost. Not a bee buzzed in the silent morning, and the smell of wood smoke lingered in the valley.

“I guess that’s that, then,” said the garden gnome, packing up his tools. He double-checked to make sure the asparagus had a thick blanket of fallen leaves and straw to keep it warm through the winter. Then he tucked a few frost sweetened carrots into his backpack for the journey.

He tipped his hat to the nearby house, smoke curling from its chimney. “See you in spring,” he said in a gruff voice, and set off for his winter home, deep in the forest and far beneath the earth where the cold couldn’t reach.


secrets of the alabaster mountains


Deep in the Alabaster Mountains, there lay a secret cave. Few remain who still know how to find it, and those who do avoid it if they can. The cave is rumored to be home to a fierce dragon. Others say it is home to a family of gnomes who hired a dragon once upon a time, to scare away trespassers.

It’s hard to say which of the tales is true, though I like to believe in both the family of gnomes and the dragon. Dragons are lonely creatures, being both fearsome and fiery, and gnomes are small and subject to bullying. Working together would serve them well.

Sometimes I look up to the cliffs at night, and see their fire twinkling there. I like to imagine the dragon lights it for them every night. He warms his friends while they cook their dinner together and enjoy the stars from high up on the cliff. Every third bat who swoops across the moon might be the dragon, taking his pals for a joyride, or a quick trip to the grocery store so they can make more s’mores.