A. Gimbledorf

This page is a collection of random, meandering thoughts concerning a dwarf who has lived in the woods behind our home time out of mind.  My children are quite familiar with his presence because I have oft regaled them with stories of his doings here.  Eventually, I hope to transform these thoughts and the tales of old into a story format that makes sense to everyone.

Here is a small compilation of quotes from which his wisdom is quite clear.

"If you think you've given something your all, but your all is all about you, then you haven't truly given anything." ~A. Gimbledorf
"Life is confusing enough; Let's try not to muddy the waters with obscure statements that make folks scratch their heads in bewilderment." ~A. Gimbledorf

Just who is this dwarf?  His name is Alexander...Alexander Gimbledorf.   He prefers to be called by his surname, Gimbledorf.  He's lived in these woods a long time.  Much longer than I've been here.  I first met him while we were making repairs to the house before we were married.  That was nearly 30 years ago!  His family lives in the woods beyond and shepherd the wild straws that, otherwise, would run rampant in this little valley.    Alexander is as tough and swarthy as any dwarf but he's a bit more polished (at least in our eyes) than the rest of his family because he's the only one who's brave enough to make acquaintances with a select few of the "big people" as they call us.  He's also more inclined to be kind to us as he's formed some sort of attachment to our family.  Although the girls have never seen him, he is quite fond of them and is always on the lookout for their safety.  Alas, my husband, who lost the magic long ago, has never seen him  and refuses to believe the stories even though he is the one who tells the girls about the wild straws with their big, sharp teeth and their ability to hide behind anything because they are so skinny! I'm sure he just tells the stories because he thinks its make believe!
Sometimes, I suspect that under Ginbledorf's gruff exterior, he's a bit of a poet at heart.

1) The woods often call to me but I find that as I've grown older, I don't take the time or the energy to go there as much as I should. If I did, I might find that my meanderings would become a little more clear. But then again, I might not. There's a quieting balm that overtakes me as I focus on the beauty and the sounds that surround me when I do take the time to wander awhile. There's a chickadee flitting carelessly from branch to twig or a deer appearing as if from nowhere and dissolving into the brush noiselessly, as if it had never really been there.
My girls share a love of the outdoors and remind me that I need to go there more often. The sun was shining yesterday and they took me out for a stroll around the usual path. There are many memories out there; some happy, some sad. The treehouse, the stump that has been the target of many arrows from the restless natives, an old grapevine hoop for throwing atlatl darts through. Trees to climb, (and fall out of), the fire ring and the maple syrup evaporator. Grapevine swings, a wigwam under construction, graves of beloved dogs and cats who've left us with warm stories of, "Hey, remember when..." Teepees made of branches, just big enough for a couple of little girls; stories of Gimbledorf, the elusive dwarf who's lived in these woods time out of mind (or at least since my girls were small!); and the ever scary "wild straws" who are so skinny that they can hide behind anything and have really sharp teeth.
I'm glad my wanderings have taken me back to those places and times. It's good to know those tales have not been lost forever and are memories we'll always share.
As I look ahead to Spring, I think of the plants that will begin to peek out of the last bit of snow. Some bringing with them healing properties that I can harvest and use to take care of my family. It's a very comforting thought.  In His wisdom, God has given us an environment that, with proper stewardship, can yield a pharmacopoeia of remedies right in our own back yard and wood lot.
I think I'll plan to spend more time this year exploring and enjoying my little piece of earth. Making new memories and expanding on old ones. I wonder how old Gimbledorf is doing anyway.

2) It is my duty to report the sad news that Spring has gone to the Caribbean for an extended vacation! Driven further south by the brutal winds and massive snowfall that has covered the eastern US with yet another heavy blanket of frosty white crystals, she will remain out of reach of winter's icy blast until coaxed back to the mainland by whispers of melting snow and sprouting seeds under my grow light.

But until then,I plan to enjoy the lovely gift of winter's bounty by spending some time outdoors. The hungry little winter birds need some seeds to tide them over and I'm sure that Gimbledorf has used up his winter stores...Hot cocoa... and...Let's see...sledding, tubing, oh, and I think I'll get out the downhill skis once the drive has been plowed. What about some sugar on snow? You know, I think I'm actually warming up to the idea! No pun intended!

3) As I looked out over the thawing woodlands behind my home, I'm quite sure that I saw someone peeking out from behind a tree! The bright sunlight on the remnants of snow reflected back at me, blinding me for a moment.  When I looked again, it was obvious that I was being watched from a brush pile near the edge of the forest. And whoever is hiding there still is laughing because the brush pile is shaking!

Now I've narrowed down the possibilities and I'm left with just three. Either Spring has swept over the span of mountains to the south and has come to visit me earlier than expected... or tease me, which is far more likely...or Gimbledorf has moved down from his winter home to spend the warmer months flitting about mysteriously, overseeing the maple sugaring that will take place in the next few weeks...or it's one of those nasty wild straws come to spy on me! I shall have to investigate but I must proceed with caution so as not to frighten the welcome ones away.

Somehow, I don't think the wild straws care much one way or the other. Once you've met one in the gloomy forest,(that's the only way they show themselves because in the bright light they almost disappear because they are so skinny) you'll never forget it. Their mouths are full of very sharp and scary teeth! It's one of those cases where the inside of something is much bigger than it looks from the outside. Ooooooh!

4)A certain herald of spring, the sap is flowing in the sugar maples with low temps at night and days just above freezing. Perfect weather for tapping the trees and gathering the sweet sap to boil down into sugar-on-snow and maple syrup. I'm hoping to get my taps out in the next day or so. Maple sugaring is always a great time with lots of fun memories of staying up until the wee hours keeping the fire going; drinking maple "tea" from the evaporator.
Last year we had a group of students here for a demo. They tapped trees, gathered sap and sampled the thickening syrup. We also made individual size homemade ice cream and my favorite, sugar-on-snow. What a way to start off the spring season.
I'm expecting Gimbledorf to show up at some point to give me an update on the mountain folk now that things are beginning to thaw a little. You know, he has a good heart but sometimes he can be a little bit of a bully to the brownies. Robin usually puts him in his place. Fairies are good at that!

5) Once I settle into a groove, I like to keep things that way.  It's easy to get comfortable in a situation and feel like it's always going to be that way.  But just about the time when I'm really settled in something changes.  New beginnings and endings.  I really don't like endings...especially sad ones.  Or when I just know the end is coming but I can't see it yet.  I can feel it in the air...the vibes generated by looming change.  Something hanging over me like a dark cloud.  The hardest part is letting go.  I tend to become very attached to things and especially to people.
But all change isn't bad.  Some of it is good and right.  Those changes often come with new beginnings.  Beginnings are exciting and full of expectation!  I have to be careful when I start something new because I tend to jump in with both feet.  Sometimes I go in right over my head and flounder around trying to get back to the surface.  And sometimes I jump in only to find that it was all for naught.  Stumbling and making a mess of things all because I'm like an excited teenager when new things begin to happen.  I still love the magic, the intrigue, the fairy tale.

And speaking of fairy tales, I haven't checked on old Gimbledorf since early this spring.  I'm sure he's having a grand time shepherding the wild straws.  In the dog days of summer, they tend to become restless and try to break away.  But he's onto them and keeps a fairly tight reign until the cooler days of autumn begin to filter through the treetops into the glades and thickets of their forest home.  The thing about wild straws is that they are so skinny that they can hide behind anything.  It's hard to imagine that they have such big teeth when they are so thin.
It time to harvest some things from the woodlands so I'll probably run into Gimbledorf somewhere on the hill.  We've noticed a variety of fern that we've never seen before.  It must be one of the new ones he transplanted from his brother's home across the valley.  Maybe if I take him some tea, he'll trade with me.

Tomorrow is our first day of homeschool for the year.  We thought we'd start early so we can feel better about taking time off when we need it.  It's my youngest daughter's first year of high school.  Lot's of new things to learn and some independence to encourage.  It's going to be a fun year.

6) It's one of those days when I probably shouldn't be writing here but I have this stuff running around in my head and it needs an outlet.

I have one of those headaches that goes in a circle right around my head just above my ears and feels like the entire top is going to pop right off.  Where's my peppermint oil?
I think it has to do with a couple of things.  Stress and worry for one, and some health issues I've been dealing with for another.  I should start a page just to deal with that.  I could record my entire battle over the past 6 years.  But I'm not sure it would be something anyone would like to read about. Wow! Am I random today?

When we came home last night about 8:15PM, we let the dog out and soon she was barking like something was wrong.  I thought it was deer since we've been seeing them right outside the back door for the last week or two.  So my daughter and I looked out the door but all we could see was a dark spot just inside the wood line beside the tree house.  A BIG dark spot. And the dog was barking right at it.  Thankfully she has a radio collar that stopped her from going closer!  We grabbed the flashlight and I stepped outside the door so I could see past the screen...the dark spot stood up...it was a HUGE bear!!!!  I've smelled that pungent aroma in the woods before but wasn't sure what it was.  Wow!  Exciting!  He just turned to look at me and lumbered up the hill for a short distance and stopped again.  The dog came back into the house but kept looking at the door so we opened it again.  We couldn't see the bear but we could hear him rummaging around in the leaves just beyond the reach of our light.

If you're reading this, I have a very specific need that I've put before the Lord.  I would really covet your prayers as Friday is the day and I'm a little nervous.  It's one of those things where He gives you peace and you feel alright for a while but when it starts to get down to the wire, the old anxiety begins to creep back into your heart and mind.  But He is good to me and I know something will happen and it will be ok and if it's not, He'll still be right here.

I can't seem to pin down the rest of what's meandering through my mind so I guess I'll ponder on that for a while and see if I can't figure out just exactly what it is and what needs to be done.  Sometimes the words just seem to flow but today I'm grasping at straws.

And for those who are following, Gimbledorf has herded the wild straws deeper into the forest as the cold temps advance.  They have a little hollow over the next hill where they set up camp for the winter.  Removing them from civilization calms them down a bit and reduces the amount of thievery and pillaging they do even though most folks probably don't know they're around.  It's kind of sad to see Alexander go but I'm sure we'll catch up with him in hunting season and he will fill us in on what's happening.  I suspect that when he's out there he meets up with some of his family and friends who are more timid and afraid to be seen by "big people."

Hmm...maybe I have some material here to spur me on to chapter 3 in Gweneth's story.

Ok, I'm stopping now....

7) I blame myself...
If I had been more help to Gimbledorf things may not have gotten so far out of hand.  It all started when he began the autumn round up of the wild straws on the hill behind our little farm.  The bear had been causing a lot of destruction and the straws were afraid of being trampled.  You can't really blame them but if they weren't so nasty folks might be more inclined to help.  When Gimbledorf talked to Renard and his friends, they all agreed that the straws would be safer on the top of the hill where he could keep an eye on them.
Of course they weren't thinking of the turkey.  If anything can scratch up the forest floor, it's a turkey.
The rain made walking harder for the straws and things were moving slowly.  Gimbledorf had sent word to his cousin, Nutledge, who lives on the next hill.  The idea was to bring the two herds together for the winter months.  That way they could keep the group a little tighter during the chaos of hunting season when the forest would be overrun with hunters for about 6 weeks.  Nutledge left his straws with his family until the roundup was over.  Since these straws are from the back woods, they were a little more unruly because they don't live in a populated area so they're not used to being near big people.
And that's when the trouble began.  The turkey, growing bold because of the bounty of autumn berries and seeds, moved in closer to Nutledges's home scaring the straws who were corralled there.  They began to panic and stampeded right through the fence into the grapevines where they scattered far and wide.  The family didn't know what to do.  The only ones at home were the younger dwarves and their mama.  Papa was out hunting.  So by the time anyone had figured out what to do, the straws were long gone.  Now if it had been Gimbledorf's herd, it might not have been so bad but as I mentioned, these straws were a little more on the wild side.
Most folks in the neighborhood aren't aware of the straws.  In fact, outside the world of faerie, there aren't many of us who know they exist.  Well, for that matter, there aren't many who know there are dwarves in the neighborhood either.  We may be the only family they've chosen to reveal themselves to, so far.  So you can imagine when the little teeth marks on their doors and the holes in their tomatoes started appearing over night, they thought they were being attacked by rodents. Dogs were posted near doors, traps were set and cats were put in the garden and worst of all...poison bait was put out.  The war had begun.
Now up to this point, the folks around here seemed to exist fairly well with all the critters in the forest. Except the marauding raccoons who've raided my chicken coop on more than one occasion.  That's where I draw the line but that's another story.
Of course the straws steer clear of the chickens for obvious reasons.  Still, if left to their own devices, they can really stir up trouble in a normally peaceful neighborhood.  As a result of the big people's revenge on what they thought were the culprits, the animals who usually ignored the straws were on the rampage.  The only thing that kept the straws alive was the fact that they are so skinny and can hide behind anything.  Well, that and the animals respect for Gimbledorf.  He'd always tried to keep peace on our hill and in the valley beyond that are shared by the dwarves, the animals and the straws.

Popular Meanderings