Where There Be Gnomes

Where There Be Gnomes

Photo by Dorota Dylka on Unsplash

By: Stella Orange

I’m a sucker for puns.

Why, just this week we’ve been working on our holiday card, complete with gnomes.

And where there be gnomes, puns are not far behind.

Meanwhile, a dear friend who lives in the mountains out West texted to report that she and her assistant were installing gnomes at a local public library.

This same week, I hauled the holiday gnomes out from their seasonal rest in the closet and installed them on our mantel.

Which is all to say that I’ve got gnomes on the brain.

At the same time, I’ve found myself in no fewer than four conversations this week about how, as professionals, we cannot be islands unto ourselves.

We thrive and flourish when we’re in cahoots with one another.

As an executive leadership coach put it to me yesterday – quoting one of her coaches – “Even the sharpest knife can’t carve its own handle.”

(I’m a sucker for a good aphorism, too.)

Along this most recent stretch of road, I notice a rising — a burgeoning, even– among people who share this belief.

From where I sit on my boulder, watching my fellow travelers, it looks like they – we – are growing more adamant that we can no longer abide making the journey (that each one of us is called to make) alone.

It’s almost as though they – we – are saying, as my elegant French neighbor used to, “I must insist.”

We must insist on linking arms, softening our egos, and walking together to get where we want to go. 

Here, I hear Dr. Martin Luther King’s voice in his famous I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech:

“I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

Dr. King reminds me that just because you hold a vision doesn’t mean you’ll personally live to see the day. No matter. Hold the vision and do your part to lay the groundwork for it.

And here, the words I recently read from a leader of the Penobscot Nation echo in my ears – which was something like (I’m writing this from memory), “We are creating a world that nobody wants to live in.”


Reading this sent a zip of alertness up my spine.

Yes, from a great enough distance, it can appear as though humans are creating a world that nobody wants to live in.



Except from where I sit on this boulder over here resting my feet before setting out again, I am also witness to some humans, in these times of heartbreak, worry, upheaval, and deep uncertainty, reaching out for one another. Making choices in accordance with the dreams we have for the future, and for the world.  Walking their path, holding the vision, and doing what’s yours to do to pass the light to someone else. 

In our businesses, yes. 

But also in our hearts. 

I want my family to be safe and healthy and thrive – and I want your family to be safe and healthy and thrive, too. 
Which, in a certain light, looks a lot like a bunch of gnomes coming out of the forest for a big ole hootenanny to me.

Rollin’ with my gnomies – and hoping you’re rolling with yours —

Stella is cofounder and copywriter at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. As our resident word nerd, she writes copy and points out the stories everyone is living and telling through their work. She is also fun at parties.

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