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My garden gnome acquaintance, Samumpsycle, (I hesitate to call him a friend because he is so transcendent compared to me) was visibly disturbed when I asked him how he felt about my conversation with the UU labyrinth stones. That conversation occurred four Sundays ago and I hadn’t mentioned it to him before.

My personal problem with the labyrinth stones was their disparaging of my insignificant age and obviously transient qualities compared to their longevity. My existence maxes out at a hundred years, but theirs is more like a hundred million years and perhaps some of them will have a personal identifiability even after the sun goes supernova in five billion years. That’s my problem and I have been coping with it.

But Samumpsycle is made of painted plaster of Paris and has a problem too. His past is even briefer than mine. Ten years ago, probably less, he was simply minerals scattered in the earth. He was formed not through natural forces but by human ingenuity into a stone image of a human-like imp. Furthermore, he isn’t made of permanent materials compressed by heat and pressure into something that can endure, like basalt or granite. He is made of a material that would be weathered away into his constituent materials in a few years if directly exposed to weather. If he and a human were left in the open to survive as best they could, the human might outlast him by many years. 

Samumpsycle under a Christmas tree.

“Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chapfallen? Now get you to my lady’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come.” – Hamlet at the graveyard speaking of dead Yorick’s skull – Hamlet – Act 5, Scene 1. 

Perhaps if I found a hole in Western Australia’s four-billion-year-old rocks and put Samumpsycle in it, he might last quite a while. Not me.

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