'The Insider's Guide to the Outdoors'
We gnomes have been here many, many years guarding the secrets and treasures of the Earth against all sorts of threats, so we don’t scare easily.
But as I snoozed in the sun recently, snuggled between the roost of a big maple tree in an Interstate Highway Rest Area, a couple of men in suits came out of the vending machine building and sat down at a picnic bench with colas and potato chips, and they were talking business, and they used a phrase I’d never heard before, and it stuck in my heart. It sounded like this:
“The Glowball Economy.”
We gnomes stay away from roads, as a rule, but there are so many roads now that sometimes we have to cross them, or walk parallel to them, to get from one wooded place to another.
I'm sure you have never seen a roadkilled gnome. We're too smart to let ourselves get hit or run over.
The worst thing that happens to us on roadsides is that sometimes we get hit by Budweiser cans and McDonald's wrappers that motorists throw our of their car windows.
We gnomes, guardians of Mother Earth and her secrets and treasures, didn't have to worry much about this thing called "energy" in the Olden Times. We never even heard of the word until about the 1600s, and then it just meant, uh, the inclination to get up and go.
Getting up and going in those days was a bigger deal than it is now, because you didn't "go" in your house. You went outdoors to the privy or into the bushes. On cold days we called it "breaking frost," and it wasn't a peasant way to start the day. But it was necessary.
Now "energy" has become a primary concern of us gnomes, because you folks discovered fossil fuels and the uses for it, and in a mere two or three centuries used up most of it, creating shortages, oil wars, global warming and the economic impact of $90-a-tank gasoline fill-ups -- none of which we gnomes had ever heard of or imagined in the thousands of years of our existence living under tree roots in the quiet woods.
Now we have to think about "energy" matters all the time, because you madly consuming humans have brought us close to the brink of extinction by your profligate squandering of fuel energy.
We gnomes are here to protect our home, Mother Earth.
Being human (sort of), we understand that the earth is meant to be used. But not to be overused. We try to protect it from overuse. Our motto is: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
For example, we gnomes can give many reasons not to build new roads.
The best reason is that you can already get from anywhere to anywhere else in America. Anyplace there's any reason to go to, there' already a road to it.
First, let me introduce myself.
I'm a gnome. I write. Therefore, I am a gnome de plume.
If you know anything about gnomes, you know that we are earth-dwellers. We live in the woods, sometimes under the roots of trees.
You know that we are legendary as guardians of secret treasures. Most people presume that "treasures" means gold, silver, jewels, Rolexes, gallons of gas and other expensive crap. Wrong. You really don't know what the treasures are unless you're an Insider, like us.