If you haven’t been on THE INTERNET much recently, you might not know that orbs are having a real moment right now. It’s all because of the Pondering My Orb meme which came to prominence a few weeks ago. It’s based upon this specific, and totally rad, fantasy painting:

A painting with a bearded man wearing a hooded cloak staring at a blue orb. In the background there is a girl with dark hair peering through an archway.

Seeking a ponderin’ orb of my very own, I recently paid a visit to Prairie Gardens — Chambana’s largest purveyor of fine orbs.


If you’ve never been to Prairie Gardens in the month of December, you need to realize that it is an absolute balls-to-the-walls Christmas superstore, with a staggering amount of trees, lights, whimsical tchotchkes, and of course, festive orbs. (No other holidays seem to be represented, maybe they should work on that.)

A row of shelving with clear boxes of ornaments. They are white, red, silver, and black, and of varying sizes. Photo by Tom Ackerman.Photo by Tom Ackerman.

Dear reader, I took the time to assess EVERY ORB in the whole place. Here’s the full breakdown of each orb and what kind of pondering it’s best used for.

First up, the largest orb I found was this massive, fake, spherical bush.

The writer is holding a giant green leafy ball. He has dark hair and a beard and is wearing a mask. He is leaning back. Photo by Andrea Black.Photo by Andrea Black.

I recommend combining it with this, also quite large, orb of sticks so that you can spend some time looking at them together and contemplating the meaning of life and death.

The writer is holding a large ball made of twigs. He is wearing a gray hooded vest with the hood over his head, and he is staring intently at the ball. Photo by Andrea Black.Photo by Andrea Black.

There are a lot of orbs on this tree...but also a lot of balls.

The writer is looking at a Christmas tree covered in varying sizes of red and green ball ornaments. He has his hand on his chin like he is contemplating something. Photo by Andrea Black.Photo by Andrea Black.

What’s the difference between orbs and balls you ask? Well I think it has to do with size primarily, but this is a deeply philosophical question that you could contemplate while gazing at the tree.

A close up of a shiny green ball ornament. The writer's reflection is in the ornament. Photo by Tom Ackerman.Photo by Tom Ackerman.

Here’s a ball ornament that’s definitely big enough to be an orb! It costs $139.99 though, so if you wanted to decorate a giant Christmas tree with these it’d be quite spendy. Better to get just one for pondering purposes.

The writer is holding a giant red ball ornament by its hook, and staring at it incredulously. Photo by Andrea Black. Photo by Andrea Black.
A close up of the price tag hanging at the top of the red ornament. It says #139.99. Photo by Andrea Black. Photo by Andrea Black.

I thought this was an even larger ball ornament...

A view of the writer through a large window. He is staring up at a large gold circle hanging from the ceiling. There are lighted Christmas trees behind him and rows of pottery on shelves below the window. . Photo by Andrea Black.Photo by Andrea Black.

...but it turns out the other side is this creepy sun face. Is it perhaps pondering YOU? Or maybe it’s just stoned.

A large round sun decoration that is gold around the outer ring, and has a silver face that seems to be smirking. Photo by Tom Ackerman. Photo by Tom Ackerman.

This orb is also a gnome.

A round fuzzy gnome decoration with a long white beard, tiny round nose, and gray knit hat. It is being held by the writer. Photo by Tom Ackerman.Photo by Tom Ackerman.

You can stare at it and ponder, “when did gnomes apparently become a holiday thing?!” Seriously, like 30% of Prairie Gardens’ holiday stuff was gnome-related. They all have faces obscured by beards except for their round noses and they've all got very tall caps. That’s not an elf thing, these are definitely gnomes. I don’t trust these guys. Not to say I don’t trust any gnomes, I certainly trust David the Gnome. Where are my “David the Gnome” decorative objects?

Not fully orbs, but I did ponder these vintage truck headlights for a time. Luckily they did not turn on while I was staring down the business end.

The writer is crouched down staring into the headlight of the front of a red car. Behind him are platforms with potted flowers. Photo by Andrea Black. Photo by Andrea Black.

Here’s the one jingle-type bell in the store that I suspect is large enough to be an orb.

The writer is holding a large bell. It's dark blue, with a star cut out of the metal. Photo by Tom Ackerman. Photo by Tom Ackerman.

It’s so big its ringer is actually a smaller bell. You can use this to ponder stuff like fractals and recursion, or I guess pregnancy.

A close of up a hole in the large bell, you can see a smaller bell inside of it. Photo by Tom Ackerman.Photo by Tom Ackerman.

The orb with the worst texture is this one that looks like it’s composed of shiny blisters. I don’t recommend looking at it for very long.

The writer is holiding a large white ornament that looks like it has bubbles all over it. Photo by Tom Ackerman.Photo by Tom Ackerman.

Then there’s this barrel cactus. An orb that’s fine to look at but not touch.

A green cactus with yellowish spikes all over it. It's potted in a dark gray container, and sitting on a table. Photo by Tom Ackerman.Photo by Tom Ackerman.

The only orb you could conceivably take a nap on was this floor orb. It required some fluffing to be close to spherical though.

The writer is holding a large stuffed footrest with cream colored weaving around it. Photo by Andrea Black. Photo by Andrea Black.

If you’re wondering where the garden is, you’ll be happy to come across this particular orb.

The writer is leaning over looking at a cement orb that says Welcome to My Garden. His hands are outstretched towards it. Photo by Andrea Black. Photo by Andrea Black.

The most adorable orbs are these precious owls. They come in two varieties: alert and sleepy.

A close up of the writer holding a small, round, white-feathered owl decoration. The owl's eyes are round and open. Photo by Andrea Black. Photo by Andrea Black.
The writer is holding a small, round, white-feathered owl that has its eyes closed. The writer's eyes are also closed. Photo by Andrea Black. Photo by Andrea Black.

Finally, the best orb for general ponderin’ is BLACK SPARKLE ORB.

The writer is holding a large black sparkly ball ornament by its hook. He is staring at it and has his other hand open underneath it. Photo by Andrea Black. Photo by Andrea Black.

It may not be as big as some of the others, but it contains secrets of the universe. It looks like a piece of the great void itself. My phone had trouble focusing on it. Heck, my trusty eyes had trouble focusing on it. The thing is downright inscrutable and only comes in a two-pack so I hope you have somebody else in your life who wants an orb.

Well that’s enough from me. Hope your holidays are filled with whatever you enjoy doing, be it orb-related or not. See you in the new year!

Top photo by Andrea Black.