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I have been trying for several days to come up with a way to respond to the death of Osama bin Laden, and in particular my own city's response to it. Oddly enough, I was able to be calm and rational about it at first but that's now been displaced, somehow. It usually works the other way!

So in lieu of deep thoughts, I thought I would share two quotes. One from Elliot, the other from Tolkien. They come as close as anything to the deep weariness that has settled deep within me, and the deep hope.

[on finding a token from Pippin, on the race across Rohan]

‘This is good tidings,’ said Aragorn. ‘Yet the marks are two days old. And it seems that at this point the hobbits left the water-side.’

‘Then what shall we do now?’ said Gimli. ‘We cannot pursue them through the whole fastness of Fangorn. We have come ill supplied. If we do not find them soon, we shall be of no use to them, except to sit down beside them and show our friendship by starving together.’

‘If that is indeed all we can do, then we must do that,’ said Aragorn.

~ from "The White Rider," The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien


I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

~ from "Four Quartets," by T.S. Eliot


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 16th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
One word comes to mind to link both those quotations:


I don't know if that makes any sense.

I'm sorry you are feeling so weary, but glad that at the same time you have not lost hope...
May. 16th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
Perseverance is a good word for it. It does make sense. Also I think there is a real sense of hope and dignity in both of them, in the sense of: this at least you cannot take away from me.

As for the weariness, I am writing the aftermath of Denethor's pyre, and it's turning out much darker (and more personal) than I ever imagined it would. I think that is coloring how the news is affecting me. I'll be better (I hope) once I get this story written.
May. 16th, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
I am writing the aftermath of Denethor's pyre, and it's turning out much darker (and more personal) than I ever imagined it would.

{{Hugs}} I can see why that would be tough. Sending virtual Bilbo with restorative seed-cake and tea...
May. 17th, 2011 09:06 am (UTC)
Thanks. I finished a first draft, and just having it finished gave me a sense of balance back. Bilbo's restorative seed-cakes did wonders.
May. 17th, 2011 09:28 am (UTC)
Good - hopefully just having got it out will be cathartic. Redrafting's never so gruelling. Bilbo is very pleased the seed-cake did the trick :-)
May. 16th, 2011 03:44 pm (UTC)
For me, Osama bin Laden's death felt like the closing of a book. In some way, it feels like we've put Al Qaida in the past, even though I know that's not entirely true.
May. 17th, 2011 09:09 am (UTC)
I can appreciate that and certainly don't judge one way or the other anyone who has that reaction. Part of the problem for me is that I'm a pacifist and that idea is actually important to me. So it feels like I am relishing the violent death, which I want to be against, at least intellectually.

More to the point, I am surrounded by people who are celebrating the death. I feel a bit dazed by it. My reaction reminds me a bit of Theoden at the end of movie!Helm's Deep: what can we do against so much reckless hate?

So for me it is complicated. I am happy and don't really want to be happy and then feel a bit repulsed by people who are IMO too happy - it's all a big jumble!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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