I met Richard Humphrey on a ferryboat in Costa Rica, and as Richard would say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Richard wore a big, goofy top hat with colorful spinners. His fashion would foreshadow a colorful connection to nature.
Richard told me a story upon one condition—at the end of the story, I had to answer a question. The story was about four brothers who saved a princess from a dragon! Each brother was a master of a trade—an astronomer, archer, tailor, and thief. At the end of the story, I had to choose the role I identified with the most. I chose the tailor, the one who could put anything broken back together. Richard was the thief, the one who snuck into the dragon's lair to save the princess.
Richard invited me to visit his home called Gnome Countryside in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Six months later, I find his wooden gnome nickel as I am packing for a humanitarian build in Six Nations, Canada. Everything happens for a reason! Before embarking on my trip, I call Richard to visit him at Gnome Countryside.
Magic is the best word to describe this place! Richard (with the help of the gnomes) has cultivated his land for a very specific, yet very abstract purpose. He takes groups of children and adults on woodland tours, connecting them to nature through the imagination of gnomes!
Storytelling is a big part of the tour. Richard has the ability to captivate audiences of all ages with an endless supply of stories. Sometimes the stories teach a lesson. Often a story is just an experience to enjoy. Richard describes it as an opportunity for children to visualize and imagine. Audiences become active participants and coauthors of these stories.
Richard even inspired me to write a story. As we took a morning walk, I expressed a desire to write more stories. Richard said, “Write a story while you are here and share it with me.” I accepted his offer. 30 minutes later, I had a complete rough draft. Click here to read my story.
A Lesson Learned
I reflected at the end of my stay. What did I learn from this magic? Was it just an experience to enjoy? Maybe I learned this:
Everyone has unique stories to share. We are the authors of many stories. If you want to write a good story, here is a helpful hint. Visualize it! The more you see it in your mind and experience the details, the better it will be told. When you visualize it, you realize it, then actualize it.
Write a good story. Share it with others. Thank you, Richard!
Click here to visit the website at Gnome Countryside.