“Let’s Build a Gnome House!”

photo taken by duffer photographer, i.e. me

What does building a gnome house have to do with climate change? Or faith?

Good questions. Here’s another question. Why didn’t I get a photo that tells my story better? I could have done so if I just would have stepped back a few feet.

Here’s the story leading up to the photo; the story before the story.

On a beautiful sunny April day I went for a walk in my neighborhood. I walked to a different part of the neighborhood than I usually do and I saw what I had never seen before- the Gnome House! I wondered “What’s the story behind this magical little structure?” Then I snapped the picture and went on my way.

Two days later, on another beautiful April day, I went for another walk. I decided to revisit the Gnome House, hoping I would run into someone who knew the story I sought. Sure enough, the man who built the Gnome House was just getting out of his car as I walked up. “Excuse me,” I called as he walked past me and up his driveway, “Could I ask what the story is behind this?”

Mr Gnome House Builder was only too happy to comply. “A few years ago a storm knocked down this tree. We wondered what we could do to put our string of lights back up. ” (Here’s where you will wish for a better photographer. You cannot see that there’s a PVC pipe extending up from the peak of the Gnome House roof for about 3-4 feet. Attached to the top of the pipe is a string of lights which runs all the way to the house where it is attached just to the left of the garage.)

“One day my wife called me at work and said ‘Let’s build a gnome house!'”

So they did.

I had assumed that the lights were add ons to the cool house, but the cool house was built to keep the lights burning.

What’s Climate Change have to Do With It?

Infrastructure (like the string of lights) and features of our environment that we have taken for granted (the front yard tree) are under threat and, at both a micro and a macro level, more and more will be damaged, destroyed or altered in significant ways.


My neighbors believed there was a solution to keeping what they loved -the lights. “Seek and you shall find”, right? Using what they had left of their tree, they added a Gnome House and were able to keep the lights burning.

Of course the consequences of climate change are way more severe than wealthy people getting their lawn lights and front yard tree damaged. Available resources to rebuild homes, farms, roads etc. or to relocate hungry homeless people will be sparse or non-existent in many cases.

But maybe this story is a tiny seed which can grow into something that nourishes us if we allow it to offer the hope and the faith that leads us to find surprising solutions.

Do you have a story?

Keep on sowing the good seed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s