The Welcome Stone

image courtesy pixabay.com

It felt great to be curled up on the ground outside again.  The thick carpet of white that had been covering the lawn for the last two months straight was finally completely gone.  Don’t get me wrong, I love snow as much as the next dog, but it was cutting into our fun time.  You can only romp around in it for so long before your paws begin to freeze and who wants to wear those stupid boots right?

Today, was a day worth celebrating.  Mylo was at daycare playing with his friends and I finally had some precious me time.  But how to enjoy that time?  Well, by laying around being lazy that’s how.  The sun was floating around in a gorgeous sea of blue with tiny waves of wispy white clouds skittering along in harmony.

“Hello Cindee!”

“Hello Mrs. Bluejay,” I called to the bird with the brilliant blue feathers.

I looked on contentedly while my avian friend dropped from the sky, dipped her wing, then soared towards the lowest hanging branch on the nearby maple tree.  My whole body seemed to radiate with a new sense of vigor at the sight of her seemingly magical maneuver from a soaring dive into a floating graceful landing.

I opened my mouth to comment on what a beautiful day it was but held back when a couple of her sparrow friends lit on the branch next to her and broke out into song.

My head dropped to my arms, and I watched them belt out a happy melody through heavy-lidded eyes.  I was ready for this moment to go on forever.

The wooden gate crashed open, jolting me to an unwelcomed awareness.  Completely taken by surprise, I leaped to my feet and unleashed a string of words and phrases that were so unladylike that I cannot repeat them here.

I tried to focus my attention on the entryway, but it was difficult to do with my heart banging so hard inside my chest that I was sure it was trying to break free.  Then horror of horrors my dreamy day came to an end.

“I am back old lady,” the white puppy said with a snarky grin.

“Humpf!”

I didn’t mean to grumble audibly, but sometimes it just happens. Before I had a chance to process things the puppy lowered his head and charged full speed towards me.

“Oh shoot!”

Okay, so that isn’t what I really said, but you catch my drift.  This whole puppy thing was cute when he was only fifteen or twenty pounds, but now that he is forty-five pounds and my height, it is a little more painful when he launches himself at you.

Thud!

We tumbled along the ground until we rolled to a stop.  It was my great misfortune to be on the bottom, gasping for breath.

“Mylo, get off me!”

“I win,” he said gleefully, before removing his weighty body from mine, his face covered in triumph. 

There were so many euphemisms I wanted to share with him but thought better of it.  Now, don’t misunderstand me, I love Mylo dearly, but sometimes he is just too in your face for my tastes, and this was one of those times.

“What’s that smell?”

Mylo was now slowly spinning in a circle with his nose pointed skyward, sucking in as much air as he could.  When he finally came to a stop he stumbled around a little trying to regain his balance, before laying down and meeting my annoyed gaze with a puzzled expression of his own.

“What is that smell,” he asked again, this time very sincerely.

Not sure exactly what he meant, I paused to inhale so that I could check out the aromas personally.  I could smell freshly cut grass, new leaves, the sun on baby flowers, and many other familiar scents that I had not enjoyed for quite some time.  I thought about it for a moment, and when I was finally able to put the fragrances together with all the other available information I had, I was able to come to a conclusion.

“Spring.  You are smelling spring, Mylo.”

The dog tilted his head to the left and scrunched up his face.  I knew instinctively that he didn’t know what I was talking about.

“Spring is when new life starts to emerge,” I explained.

A sense of recognition dawned on his furry face.  I could tell by his features that he kind of understood, but not fully.

“Hi ho .,. hi ho … it’s off to work we go!”

“Now what,” I howled turning towards the singing.

“Do you see that,” Mylo asked.

“I do, but I don’t believe it,” I answered.

To our great surprise, Mommy was coming out of the shed carrying a flat of flowers.  Behind her was a line of garden gnomes marching in formation and singing this ridiculous song.  This was too much for me.  I needed to lay down.

“What’s going on,” the puppy asked.

“Don’t know,” I said, too stunned to formulate a reasonable answer.

We both fell silent and watched Mommy plant flat after flat of plants and flowers.  As she moved on down the side of the house, the gnomes would follow.  Each of the little stone creatures would climb inside the flower bed and dig around until they found the perfect spot, then settle in to make it their home. 

This went on until every flower, shrub, and creeper had been planted.  Satisfied with her work, Mommy cleaned up and went inside leaving Mylo and me to ponder what we had seen.

“Now what,” the puppy asked wide-eyed.

“We go in,” I shrugged.

We rose to our feet in unison and were about to head for the house when someone tugged on my tail.

“Help!”

My scream echoed through the yard and almost knocked Mylo off his feet.  I spun around as quick as I could, prepared to confront the culprit, but froze in my tracks when I came face to face with …

“What is that,” Mylo asked.

“Yes, what are you,” I asked, now completely dumbfounded.

Standing directly in front of us was a tiny stone statue of what appeared to be a gnome dressed as a magician.

“I am your fairy gnome mother,” the creature answered in a deeply melodious, yet feminine voice.

“Oh, see Mylo, it is just our fairy gnome … what?”

“Gnome mother,” the object answered, her features revealing a mildly perturbed expression.

“Oh,” the puppy answered matter of factly, as if he came face to face with a talking gnome every day.

“We need your help,” the gnome said, directing her attention to the puppy.

“We would be glad to be of assistance.  What can me and the old lady here do for you,” he said, nodding in my direction.

I, however, glared at him with contempt and was about to take him to task for his agism remark, but seeing as we had a guest, I held myself in check.  For the time being at least.

“The nice human forgot to put the Welcome Stone out.  We need the Welcome Stone.”

“The Welcome Stone,” I stammered.

“Yes, the Welcome Stone, here, I will show you!”

Mylo and I followed the gnome in silence as it led us across the yard, into the shed, and to the very back corner.  There, behind the lawnmower sat an oblong stone.  It had the word Welcome painted across the center with multiple colored hearts dancing around it and what’s more … it looked heavy.

“How are we going to move that,” Mylo asked, with thoughts of worry etched on his forehead.

“Hmmm, that’s a good question,” I answered.

A hush fell over the room as Mylo and I examined our surroundings, looking for a way to transport that big stone to its summer home. 

Daddy had a lot of junk stored in the shed, but at the moment, none of it looked useful.  Horseshoes hung on one wall along with several shovels and tools, while the snowblower blocked off the other wall.  I stretched onto my tiptoes to try and look over it, but it was no use. 

“Here, try this. It will raise you up a few inches,” he said sliding Daddy’s skateboard across the floor. 

“Thanks,” I said, smiling over my shoulder.

Without any thought to my own personal safety, I hopped on top of the board.  I needed just a little more height, so again, I climbed to the tippiest top of my toes. 

Friends, I had never been on a skateboard before.  Did you know that it rolls and requires balance?  Well, I didn’t, at least not until now, and I was about to find out the hard way.  The board carried me across the shed until I crashed into a recycling bin sending all sorts of plastic, aluminum, and little old me skittering across the floor where the lawnmower brought me to a sudden stop.

“I have it!”

I scowled at Mylo, who seemed very happy with himself for coming up with an idea.  My only hope was that it would be a useful idea.

“What do you have, Mylo” I grumbled.

“An idea!  We could put the Welcome Stone on the skateboard and roll it into place.”

I glared at him.  He was standing in front of me, happy as a lark with his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth and his eyes bright.  As much as it pained me to say it, he had a good idea.

“I like it.  Let’s do it,” I said climbing to my feet. 

With a renewed sense of enthusiasm, the two of us worked together to lift the hefty rock off the ground and onto the skateboard.  In no time we were following the gnome across the yard and up the driveway until it came to stop right next to the porch. 

“That was good teamwork, you guys.  If you could just drop it right here it would be perfect!”

I was just about to push the Welcome Stone into place when I felt a gentle poke on my backside.  Unable to resist, I swung around to confront the offender, but nobody was there. 

“Strange,” I mumbled.

Before I had the chance to turn around, I felt another jab, then another, and finally a pinch on top of it all.

“Cindee!”

What the heck, now someone was urgently calling my name.

“Cindee!”

My eyelids flew open, and I sucked in a deep breath of air.  Floating in front of my eyes was a fuzzy white blob.  I squinted, then blinked rapidly until at last Mylo’s face came into focus.

“Geez, I didn’t think you were ever going to wake up.  C’mon, dinner is ready,” he said, turning to trot towards the house.

“Darn,” I grumbled. It had only been a dream.

It would have been easy to close my eyes and go back to sleep.  After all, I would like to have known how it ended, but somehow, the idea of dinner was too much to overcome. 

Groggily, I rose to my feet and started to pad my way towards the house but came to a stop at the sight in front of me.  Mommy had planted the flowers while I was napping and put the gnomes and the Welcome Stone out too.   She did a fabulous job.  I turned to move towards the back door but stumbled and fell to the ground.

Angrily, I looked over my shoulder to scold whatever menace had tripped me up but came up short at the sight of the skateboard.

“Better watch your step!”

I nearly jumped out of my fur at the sound of the voice.  Curious, I spun around ready to give whoever snuck up on me a piece of my mind.  To my surprise, it was … nobody.  I was all alone.

“Strange,” I mumbled.

Not convinced I scanned the lawn one last time until my eyes came to rest on a gnome dressed as a wizard, who wore this odd smile on his face. 

“Cindee,” Mylo called from the back deck.

“Coming,” I answered.

Putting it out of mind, I started towards the back of the house again.

“See you later!”

I stopped, slowly turned my head to look over my shoulder just in time to catch the gnome smile and wink.

“Could it be,” I mumbled under my breath?

“Nah,” I said shaking my head and trotting away towards dinner and a peaceful night.

© 2022 H. Scott Moore

Author: H. Scott Moore

H. Scott Moore is a native of Western New York, where he grew up enjoying the rhythm of life in the changing of seasons. Intrigued by his pets and curious about what they were thinking led H. Scott to combine his passion for animals and love of reading and writing to create a world where everything is experienced from their point of view. When he is not working or creating, H. Scott likes to spend his time in nature with Cindee, Mylo, Rapi, Mommy, and the rest of the gang!

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