I swear it wasn't done when I went to bed.
I recall specifically lookin' out my front door, without any of that that "doo-doo-doo" enthusiasm John Fogerty expressed back at his house in the 60s. And with 100% fewer giants doing cartwheels, too...
Even though I was pretty tired.
But there was absolutely nothing to sing about, as far as I was concerned. The snow had piled up a good eight inches in no time, creating an image of idyllic postcard winter. Because y'know, those Currier and Ives landscape people clearly had snowblowers. What else could explain how they could summon up so much seasonal appreciation to paint under these sorts of conditions?
So I went to bed. And when I got up in the morning and faced the tundra again with a hot cup of java, that's when I saw it.
My walk, and the first three stairs of my house, had been shoveled.
There was also a path carved so I could get into my car.
Yes, this was the third time this had happened.
The first time, I had already shoveled, but overnight a mysterious, convenient path had been dug to my car that I didn't recall doing.
The second time, someone beat me to shoveling my front walk in its entirety, again somewhere between 10pm and 5am.
And now... this time, the walk was shoveled, along with three steps to the house.
I would say it was my neighbors, but initial dealings with one of them in particular hadn't proved to be overly... Mr. Rogersy. So unless it was guilt-ridden, Apology Shoveling, it just didn't seem likely.
And no one has come ringing my doorbell asking for money, saying if I don't pay up they'll put it all back.
So the only possible rational explanation is that I have Shoveling Gnomes.
I mean, sure, as kids we all heard the tales. Magical elfin people who'd repair massive amounts of shoes overnight. Or spin straw into gold. Or fold your laundry and stack it in your underwear drawer.
(Oh, wait, no, that last one is sometimes called "Mom.")
But the other two. Those. They count. So who's to say these magic-packed little people aren't expanding their operations to shovel snow?
What happens to lawn gnomes in winter, anyway? Do we really believe they're just under two feet of snow sleeping it off for six months?
No. They make themselves useful. Tidy up the place. And we have evidence that they're attracted to colder, snowier climes. I mean, who hasn't heard of Gnome, Alaska?
Okay, yes, I know that's spelled differently. But I think that's just a diversionary tactic used by real estate agents to strengthen the market values.
So, as winter slowly melts into spring, I'm looking to see what the future brings. Perhaps they'll turn their hands to gardening this year, and I'll find annuals where none were planted.
Maybe I'll find the barbeque polished up for a fresh season of grilling.
Or maybe I'll just find a ton of teeny-tiny beer bottles tossed under one of my shrubs, along with a pink plastic flamingo wearing a saddle.
Work hard, play hard, you know.
There's no place like gnome.