Well I’ve finally done it, I’ve published my first book of poetry. The title is the title of this blog and it’s a collection of nearly two hundred poems about love, lust and loss all of which most of us have been intimately aquanted with at one time or another. It’s filled with very personal thoughts on these subjects with a generous sprinkling of nature and spirit. It is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PHHC22X?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860
And now I will share one of the poems from the book to give you a small glimpse into the book and my deep personal thought therein.
In a dream I met her. She was sitting across a table from me and talking, a lot, telling me so many things but the one thing that stuck out was that we were alike. Very alike, she said. Then today I am online watching a seminar on Plant Spirit Herbalism and there she was! Talking, a lot, about all the things that run around in my head, all the things I love and know about plants. Talking about talking to plants which I have been doing basically all of my life. Her words were pulling me back into a place I had lost. Her words were reminding me of the beauty and glory of being with and talking to and listening to plants and trees; a place of life and love and healing. Reminding me that without plants we cannot live for there would be no air to breath. Simple truth so easily forgotten.
But let me back track to yesterday when I was feeling disconnected, drudging along my life- road with little enthusiasm, feeling drained of energy and my old nemesis depression was tapping gently on my door. Taking my dust mop, an old fashioned tool for cleaning floors, I stepped outside to shake the dust of my house from its woolen fibers hoping to shake the dust off my muddled thoughts when I heard the cry of a hawk very close by. Looking up into the sky to find where the sound was coming from revealed two red tailed hawks soaring over my head then landing on one of the trees right in front of me. They sat there just long enough for me to realize they were the bearers of a sign then they flew off into the woods their calls echoing behind them diligently succeeding at breaking into my muddled thoughts.
When I went back into the house I gathered up the few books I have on interpreting signs from the animal kingdom. I knew that hawk was a messenger telling me to pay attention, that something was about to be revealed to me. So for the rest of the day I watched and waited. Nothing seemed to be jumping out at me telling me ‘this is the direction’ or ‘do this and it’ll all make sense’. No, the rest of the day seemed to be just a continuation of the same drudging lack of purpose and now my old nemesis was knocking rather loudly at my door. So in an attempt to dull the racket in my brain I got online and just surfed, letting the digital waves take me where they wanted while secretly hoping that they might lead me to that anticipated and illusive message. Now, mind you, it is the middle of March in the northern part of the country; there are still piles of snow sitting around and I see something crawling on my computer screen. Thinking it was one of the few bugs that come inside up here to get out of the cold like lady bugs or stink bugs I prepared to either move it out of my way (lady bug) or remove it to the outdoors (stink bug). But on closer inspection found an ant! And I swear to you it looked right at me! So right then I knew it was another sign guiding me toward that illusive ‘message’. Ant’s significance is patience. So with a sigh, I resigned myself to wait.
So when I sat down at my computer this afternoon still feeling much like I did yesterday but with that weird dream still stuck in my head I remembered that I had signed up for a virtual conference on Herbalism. So I tuned it in and there she was; the woman from my dream talking about all the things I know and love and feel so deeply about. All the things I had forgotten to rely upon; the plants, the trees, my old friends, the ones who use to come to me when I was little, the ones who were the faeries, the spirits of nature. She reminded me that I am not alone, that none of us are. The plants are there waiting for us to acknowledge them, to let them help us, love us, heal us. They are more than just physical beings; they are also spiritual beings just like us only so much more advanced evolutionally speaking. They were here way before us and will probably be here way after we are gone. They are well worth listening to.
So what do you think? Was the ant also telling me where I would find the message? Makes sense to me.
Lately I’ve become aware of my lifelong relationship with fire. There is a possibility that I inherited it from my father; he was always setting our houses on fire – accidently, of course, and no, he wasn’t a smoker. The fires were always caused by carelessness and, I now believe, his inability to actually connect to the spirit of fire, which was strange because his occupation included the installation and maintenance of home heating systems, more fire-work. So you might say his life revolved around fire but it took him most of his life to find that balance with it that kept it from getting out of control on him (he had his last house fire when he was in his eighty’s). Throughout my life I watched and tried to learn from his mistakes. Over the years there have been some close calls; a pot holder catching fire, a kerosene lamp blackening my apartment wall, the occasional grease fire and the chimney fire that taught me the importance of keeping the chimney clean. But along the way fire and I have come to the realization that we are deserving of each other’s respect as living, breathing beings on a planet wrought from fire in a universe rife with it.
In the house I lived in for over thirty-five years the focal point of the living room was the big iron woodstove which was in the front part of the house. Later we added another smaller one in the back part of the house. For most of those years they were the only source of heat in our home and I was their major caretaker. They and I had a very passionate love-hate relationship. They were a lot of work but they gave back so much in warmth and ambiance that most of the time it was a labor of love.
When I finally moved out of that drafty old Victorian in town into a newer house in the country the only thing I really missed were those woodstoves and their amiable blazes. At first I thought I could live without them and I did – for about a year. The house was defiantly warmer with its in floor heating and good insulation, warmer than the old one even with its two iron fire breathing beasts.
But as time went on I realized there was an empty space inside my spirit that that couldn’t be filled with anything other than fire. So with the help of a grandson an outdoor fire pit was crudely built out of all the local rocks we could find. It was just a circle of stones inside of which I could safely build a fire. The woods around my house provided plenty of dead limbs to feed my addiction and I was happy for a time. Then I realized that in the dead of winter it was nearly impossible to dig out the pit and fire wood from under a few feet of snow. So the next year I acquired a metal chiminea to set on the small patio outside my back door. Through the fall I filled two totes with kindling and fallen branches to keep it all dry and when winter came I bundled up, shoveled the couple of feet to the fire source and enjoyed many cold evenings visiting with my fire friends. Life was good. But in the back of my head there was a little voice getting louder by the month complaining that it needed fire in the house. It needed a woodstove.
I mentioned this numerous times to my partner but he was not in agreement. Then I went for the logical angle (since he is into that sort of thing) and told him we needed something for heat when the power went out. He said he’d work on getting a generator. We’ve been here for over four years now and there is neither a woodstove nor a generator in our possession.
So this summer I decided to try a little sympathetic magick. Basically I needed a sort of poppet of a woodstove that I could use as a lure for a real one. After much thought I realized it would be easier to make a faux fireplace than a woodstove. And it would also be nice if it was life size. I had most of the supplies to build it hanging around the property; old wood from an abandoned and fallen tree house my grandsons had built, bricks I’d picked up from a demolished old building, and a big wooden crate that was just the right size for the core of my project. The only thing I purchased for it was an electric fireplace insert that tries to look real – and almost makes it.
Long story short, the fireplace poppet is now a focal point in my living room where it gives off heat, ambiance and the magickal intent to bring a real live fire breathing iron beast into my home.
My partner hopes the fake one will pacify me. But all he has is hope. I have a fire poppet and a whole lot of magickal intent.
I don’t know him, but I do. Maybe it’s a past life thing, maybe it’s a brown eyed thing (we both have them). Or maybe it’s just athing but I dreamed of him last night. He told me there was eccentric and then there was me; he said I was just crazy. Then he smiled. I said, ”That’s what everyone says about you, you know.” Then he laughed, said us crazy people have to stick together. We made love then he fixed breakfast while I attempted to fold the sheets. It was fun.
Dreams… Huh. I have my theories but first about the bees.
So I have been waiting for the honey bees to return. I had a couple of hives a few years ago but anyone that keeps up with environmental news knows that it’s getting really hard to keep them alive. So, of course, they died. But I’ve never given up. I have two trap boxes set out for them, one between my garden and a large field and one at the edge of my woods. They have been there for three years and have not seen any activity. In fact, during that time I have not seen any honey bees in my garden. There are plenty of native pollinators but no honey bees.
This morning after that dream I wandered through my garden like I do every morning. I went to check on the progress of my small pumpkin patch and found twenty or more big, bright yellow pumpkin flowers, their faces open like smiles toward the sun. The familiar buzzing of insects surrounded them sounding like a miniature chorus. Closing my eyes I let their symphony soothe my dream addled mind when I realized there was a new yet familiar song being sung around the pumpkin blossoms. My eyes popped open, wide, as I realized there were dozens of honey bees busy gathering nectar and pollen from my humble little pumpkin patch. Tears gathered at the corners of my eyes as the gratitude unleashed its self. I watched in awe as my old friends worked happily in my garden once more, their droning song filling the morning air. It filled me with hope, something that has been sorely lacking in my life of late.
Then I trekked out to check my trap boxes, put in some fresh lure – just in case.
So, what, you might ask, has the dream to do with the bees? It could, of course, be just the typical birds and bees symbolism, a very viable option. Or just a simple escaping the ordinary dream. Another viable option. My dream dictionary says that sex in a dream can be a symbol of two energies joining together and with a stranger can portray joining with one’s own anima or animus. In other words, he could simply be a projection of my inner self attempting to bring me some comfort. Well, all I know is both the dream and the bees made me feel – well – joyful! Both gave me much happiness and hope that life can still be good, fun – exciting, even. Feelings many of us have been thinking of late could be lost forever.
There is also the theory that sometimes when we dream our spirits travel, wandering through this world or others in search of adventure. So I will be forever curious. Did he wake up this morning and wonder, who was that crazy old woman I made love to in my dreams last night? Then maybe he shook the cob webs from his dream addled mind and heard some bees outside his window.
When the psychic gripped her hand and told her about the theory of twin souls it felt like when all the pieces of a puzzle fit together after struggling over it for days. The way she explained it, a twin soul or twin flame as some called it, was when some souls were created they split and became two separate souls but continued to be connected in many ways as they incarnated into the corporeal world much like physical twins. Reincarnation was involved since these souls were on a long journey to get back to each other while at the same time striving for their own unique brand of perfection. Some lifetimes they were together, some apart, but always aware of each other in some part of their psyche.
Then the woman looked across the table still gripping her hand and said, “You have been aware of him most of your life, in dreams mostly. I also sense that you have always felt his absence in your life, a loneliness that sometimes overcomes you.” She let go of her hand and put a finger on her chest, “But he is in here, you feel it, always have, like one of your organs, like one of your bones. His essence flows through your body like blood in your veins.” She closed her eyes then. ” I can see him. He is lonely too.”
Memories skipped through her mind fast like a runaway train. All the times she had begged her mother to tell her the truth; that she had a twin that either died or was given away. She’d made her mother cry a few times over these accusations finally relenting with the questions not wanting to cause her mother any more pain and realizing she must be telling the truth – there was no twin. Then she read about people who had had surgery to remove a tumor and it was found to be a twin their body had absorbed in the womb. For years she thought maybe that was the answer but no tumor ever appeared and in time she gave up on this theory as well. And then there was that constant nagging feeling that she wasn’t complete that something, someone was missing. All the men she had tried to fit into the empty place in her soul, none of them supplying the completeness she was searching for.
Then there were the dreams.
They began when she was ten years old. A little boy would be with her, playing, running, always smiling at her. As she got older so did the boy. They would be together walking, holding hands, talking quietly about things she could never remember when she awoke. Then one night when she was around fourteen he kissed her. She awoke with a start still feeling his warm lips on hers in the dark of her room, his presence in the bed beside her. But when she turned on the light no one was there. She cried for an hour, the aching loneliness eating at her brain. When she fell back to sleep he was there in the dream again just holding her for the rest of the night.
For a while in her twenties she had tried to be rid of this phantom and dated a parade of men to try to fill the place of her dream partner, even married one of them, for a time. But soon it became clear to the man that his wife was looking elsewhere for companionship and he quietly divorced her. She was on her own again and the dreams returned with a vengeance as if they were trying to make up for the years she had pushed them away. They made her feel even more alone so another parade of men entered her life only to reinforce the feeling that something was missing.
Then in her late twenties she began having sex with her dream man. It was the best sex she’d ever had and goodness knows she’d certainly had enough sex to compare it to. He was gentle and creative and she always awoke feeling loved, satisfied, exhausted but still alone in a messy bed. This went on until her early thirties when she told the dream man she’d had enough. It was too lonely living with a phantom. She wanted real and went out to find a new man. This time it lasted a year longer than the last one. But this time he was the one that went looking elsewhere telling her in the end that she was “just not there” with him. She had to admit he was right. No one could compare with her phantom man. No one could make her feel the way he did. The dreams returned.
At thirty-three she went into therapy.
Her therapist told her that she was the man in her dreams. He made her keep a diary of all her dreams and to be as detailed as she could about their content. It was during this process that she began drawing pictures of her phantom. It was then that she realized how beautiful he was. She could describe his clothing – eccentric, the jewelry he wore – a lot, the tattoos he had – many, especially the one of a honey bee on his wrist. Then one night he had a guitar with him and played and sang for her. She hummed the song all the next day. After that she was serenaded often. Her therapist told her she should get a tape recorder and sing the songs into it. She wasn’t especially musical but she could sing well and so the recordings became an acappella rendering of the dream songs. Some of them were ballads, some were love songs and some were wild rock n roll that really didn’t translate well in acappella form. She sang them all exactly as she heard them in her sleep.
Her therapist was amazed at her artistry and her singing voice and suggested that maybe the dreams were telling her that she should pursue some kind of artistic endeavors; maybe her dreams were her way of accessing her hidden talents. So she began writing poetry and trying to turn them into songs. The words came easy but she could never put them to music. But every time she would finish a poem he always came to her in a dream and sang it to her. Her therapist said she was simply collaborating with herself. Many artists relied on their dreams for inspiration.
Then it happened; she saw him in a YouTube video singing and playing in a band. She almost fell off her chair. When she finally closed her gaping mouth and let her eyebrows relax she watched it a second time then added the channel to her library. Then she read the short description about the video.
“Los Angeles band brings grunge back with a vengeance and Vengeance is their name.”
There was only one video and it had been uploaded the day before but she continued to check it every day and within a week another video appeared. This time there was a close up of her dream man and she could see that her drawings had captured him exactly. But he was so far away from New York, so out of her reach.
Her next therapy session was very interesting.
After showing the videos to the therapist the room went quiet for about a minute then he recovered. “You must have seen the video at some time while looking around and the image attached itself to your memory. You needed a face to fill the place of the man in your dreams so…”
She interrupted him while pushing the phone into his view and pointing at the date of the upload.
Once again the room went silent. They stared at the walls behind each other for about five minutes when he looked at his watch and announced the session over for the day.
The next day she went to see the psychic.
When the woman finally let go of her hand signaling the end of the reading she pulled out her phone and showed the video to the psychic. The woman leaned forward, looked at the phone then up into the face of her client, eyes wide, “This is him; this is the man!”
“I know.” Then she opened her sketch book and showed the drawings. “I’ve been drawing him for months now.”
She told of the dreams of music and all the crazy assumptions the therapist had come up with which made the psychic laugh. “They think they have it all wrapped up in a nice neat package but what they don’t know is that we are not just bodies with brains. We are spirits, souls living in bodies for a time in order to experience the wonders of physical life.” She sat back in her chair, closed her eyes and continued, “You will meet him soon. He will come to you without you having to do anything but keep dreaming and drawing and singing his songs.” She opened her eyes. “He is dreaming of you too. When you are together in the dreams you are actually together in the spirit.”
The woman took her hand once more, “Go home and wait. It will not be long.”
She never returned to the therapist.
A few weeks went by as she continued doing what the psychic had advised her. The drawings now turned into paintings. They littered her small apartment, leaned up against the walls, tucked into her closet, shoved under the bed. She went through her days at work thinking about her next poem, writing little snippets on napkins or the palms of her hands until she could get to a piece of paper and do them proper justice. Then one night in a dream she found herself reading one of them to him. He smiled and started singing it to her as he picked out cords that complemented the words.
The Vengeance videos increased in number. It was comforting to be able to watch him on a screen, so much clearer than in a dream. But in order to feel him sleep was required and dreams were essential so she found she was sleeping much more. The dreams of him became so frequent that she hardly ever dreamed of anything else any more. The weekends were spent napping, painting and writing poetry. Sometimes she wondered if she were going crazy. Then she would visit the psychic and was reassured that the time was getting closer. He would come to her within the year. It was September; there wasn’t much time left. Hope became her constant companion.
There were now fifty Vengeance videos on YouTube and a Face Book page as well. His band had reached a following of over ten thousand and they announced that they had been invited to play at a New York City club for New Year’s Eve. She read the words over at least ten times before she could muster up the courage to believe them. The club was in her state. He was coming to her state! Then reality hit. New York was a big state and she was so far north from the big city that it might as well be in Europe especially on a waitress’s salary. There was no way she could go to his concert. Depression hit like a wrecking ball on her heart.
The next week she dragged herself to the psychic who was fast becoming her best friend.
“Oh honey, don’t worry. He will come to you, remember?”
“But how?” She was sobbing into her tea and her friend wrapped her arms around her, “I don’t know the how. I just know that you are not going to go to him. He is going to find you. Somehow, he is going to find you.”
She was invited to a New Year’s Eve party by one of the other waitresses and tried to decline but the girl was so sweet and so insistent that she finally relented. The party lasted all night and she got drunker than she had since she was a teenager. She slept nearly all of New Year’s Day dreaming that she was riding in a bus with her lover. She watched the road ahead as they traveled through towns and woods and past barren winter fields dusted with snow. When she finally woke up and realized it was a new year and her lover had not found her she sat down on her bed and cried for a half hour.
The darkness outside was interrupted by giant flakes of snow drifting past her window as she stood leaning her forehead on the icy glass watching them pile up on the sleeping lawn. She could feel her hope being buried under the feet of snow that was accumulating before her eyes. By the second day of the year three feet of snow had fallen and her world came to a standstill as the blizzard raged outside. Her boss called and said not to come in to work that the restaurant was closed until the plows got around to digging it out.
The day dragged on like a dull nightmare filled with fog and tombstones and crying wind. She spent most of the day in bed trying and failing to sleep. The next day her boss called and said if she could get out he would appreciate it if she would come to work since everyone else had called in. The poor man sounded desperate so since the landlord had plowed the driveway that morning, like a zombie she dressed and drove to work.
There were a few regulars scattered around the dining room when she arrived but it looked like it was going to be a slow and boring day. She took orders, made coffee and waited. The lunch rush consisted of two people who ordered sandwiches to go. The day dragged on snail-like until at five-thirty her boss told her she could go home. She was putting her coat on when the door opened and a group of guys blew in on the cold wind and seated themselves at the farthest table in the dining room. She took her coat back off, grabbed some menus and headed over to the table. As she distributed the menus one of the guys looked up at her and uttered something guttural like he was about to choke. She looked down at him and froze.
It was him!
They stared at each other for what seemed like hours but in reality was only a few seconds when one of the other guys blurted out, “Holy shit, man, that’s the girl you’ve been painting for the past two years!”
Her dream man stood up then and looked down into her eyes. She audibly gasped as he took her hand in his and answered his buddy, “Yes, it is.” She could feel him trembling as he pulled her to him in an embrace that took her breath away.
Just then she heard the door bang open and a familiar voice call out, “He’s here! He’s here right now – I had a vision!” The psychic ran to the only occupied table and slammed to a halt. “Oh!” she panted trying to catch her breath as she took in the scene before her. All eyes were on her now and she looked around at them. “Yup,” she wheezed, “That’s what I saw.”
He kissed her then and the laughter and cheers ringing through the restaurant began to fade into the ether like the dreams she never had to fall asleep again to experience.
There is a quote I read somewhere that says ‘a tree does not a forest make’. Well, I disagree with that statement. In this increasingly overpopulated world we live in it is becoming harder and harder to find what our ancestors would call a woods let alone what they would refer to as a forest. Deep within the heart of every tree there lives the potential for a forest. Each year as my single Norway Maple drops its leaves I am reminded of that. By the time it is finished they carpet the ground with the promise of a thousand trees. The promise of the Witch Wood.
I am on a spiritual journey with the trees. I have been talking to them since I was a child and for the past few years they have been talking back. It was a very large tree that showed me that she is indeed a forest in her own right. I have always had the extreme luxury of being able to enter the sanctuary of a large woods or forest but I realize that a lot of people don’t have that. And the trees also realize that. They want people to know that all it takes to enter the woods is to simply sit with a tree. Touch it, talk to it either out loud or in your head. It will hear you and if you listen with your heart you may hear it talk back. When you have experienced this connection you have entered the Witch Wood. It is a magical place where other worldly creatures dance and play with the earthly ones. It is a place where peace resides, a place you can go when life gets too hectic and you just need a little break from it.
All it takes is one tree and a few minutes of your time. The Witch Wood is calling. Will you answer?
I love mushrooms. I love looking at them, painting them, searching for them in wild places. To me they are the symbol of all things Faerie.
Today I was planting some bulbs and came upon a familiar mushroom, two, in fact. The Wood Blewit is one of the prettiest mushrooms you’ll ever encounter. It comes in shades of purple and lavender and best of all, it’s edible. So I carefully picked these two little mushrooms and set them on my kitchen counter. Later in the day I set about cleaning them, gently brushing dirt from them, sometimes blowing dirt off that was stuck in their tiny gills. When they were sufficiently cleaned I set them down on a cutting board and turned to grab an onion when a flash caught my eye coming from one of the mushrooms. I picked it up to examine it and noticed a fleck of glitter on its cap. Then I noticed another and another and realized the entire cap of the mushroom was sprinkled with the tiniest specks of glitter I’ve ever seen, so tiny that I had missed them during the cleaning process. The strangest part about this was that they were very hard to rub off. I had to scrape them off with my knife.
Now, I probably don’t have to tell you that glitter is not a natural occurrence on any mushroom. Loads of scenarios flickered through my thoughts. I have been known to brush off my glitter laden clothes just outside my door where I enjoy the sparkle on my doorstep for months after. But the area I found the mushrooms in is nowhere near my door, not even near my house. I live in the middle of eleven acres of woods in the country so the idea that someone tossed glitter on my property wasn’t a viable one. Then there was the fact that of the two mushrooms standing within a few inches of each other only one of them was glittered.
My logical mind wants to find a practical answer to this conundrum.
My spirit knows the answer.
Nature spirits, which I choose to call Faeries, took glitter which they found somewhere – perhaps on my doorstep – and carried it possibly on the wind, possibly by bribing some insect to carry it on her back, then deposited it onto this one mushroom. Then they set about leading me to that place knowing I had flower bulbs to plant that would give them beautiful flowers to play with in the Spring. In my heart I feel they rewarded me for planting those flowers by giving me not only something to eat but a sign from them that they really are there.
So – does that make my mushroom Faerie Food? We all know we have been cautioned not to eat faerie’s food or we will be lost in their world for a long time, maybe even forever. Well I live with one foot in their world already.
Maybe it’s time to jump right in.
Anyone who gardens in the north knows that this is the season for dirty feet. It doesn’t seem to matter if you go barefoot, wear shoes, sneakers, or mud boots; somehow the dirt from the garden finds its way to your feet. I’ve tried tucking my jeans into the boots, wearing them on the outside of the boots, even going so far as putting a rubber band at the hem of the jeans around the boot. No matter what I do at the end of the day my feet still look like someone has dumped dirt into my boot and rubbed it into my skin.
I blame the garden gnomes.
I saw a garden gnome some years ago. Not one of those statues of garden gnomes you see all over the place, which I believe give them a good laugh. No, this was a real, honest to goodness gnome. Did you know that what people think is a pointy hat on their heads is actually the shape of their heads? Yup, that’s what I saw.
It was a one moonlit summer night when he appeared in my flower garden. He stood about three feet tall and just stared at me as I stared back at him. I got the feeling he was just as surprised to see me as I was him. It was difficult to make out colors due to the blue cast the moon gave everything but I did notice that he was not wearing clothes and he was a bit hairy all over. And, like I said, there was no hat on his head, just that domed point with long, dark hair cascading from it. His facial features were quite flat, eyes that slanted toward pointed ears held close to his head, a wide nose with flaring nostrils and full lips below a large mustache that hung well past his chin and his skin appeared greenish-blue in the summer moon light.
The night I saw the gnome I was wearing my wellies due to a resent downpour which made the garden wet and muddy. When the gnome disappeared – and I mean disappeared, he just seemed to sink down into the earth on the spot he was standing – I finished the ritual I had been doing when he first appeared then I went back inside. As is customary in many pagan paths, I had bathed before doing my ritual so imagine my shock when I removed my wellies and found mud caked on the top of my feet and between my toes. That was the first time I made the connection between dirty feet and gnomes.
That was the only time, so far, that I’ve seen a gnome but I know they’re out there in my garden just beneath the surface. I know they are waiting for me every time I go out to weed or water, gather or plant. They are just waiting to use their own little brand of earth magic to somehow put dirt into my boots. Sometimes I make their job easier by wearing sandals or simply walking around the garden barefoot, letting the dirt toss up onto my feet, squish between my toes. I can almost see them smiling knowing I have gotten their message to not forget what is responsible for making my garden grow.
Now when I take my boots off and knock the dirt out of them heading for the bathtub to wash my dirty feet, I think of that gnome staring at me in the moonlight and smile.