Spring is sprung
The grass has riz -
I wonder where
the Flowers is?
If the weather around here is any indication, we need a counterpart for winter's first, all-too-welcome gasp. My best effort:
Spring done sprung
[We're talking a while ago here]
The grass's turned brown
It's that time of year
For pumpkin to be the only flavor around
Granted, the meter's more than a bit off, but so is a temp of 63 F (~18 C) at 2 PM in September. If that's bothering anyone we can call it a Tolkien pastiche. (I love the man but his poetry often left... something to be desired.(
Speaking of Tolkien, yesterday was The day, the long-expected party and the shared birthday. I should have posted celebrating it then but didn't quite get around to it. As penance, and because (as Bilbo would say) the road goes ever on and on, have this scene from the day after the party. Easily one of my favorites in Tolkien, and though it's a bit on the long side I can't quite get myself to cut out any of it.
Inside in the hall there was piled a large assortment of packages and parcels and small articles of furniture. On very item there was a label tied. There were several labels of this sort.
For ADELARD TOOK, for his VERY OWN, from Bilbo, on an umbrella. Adelard had carried off many unlabelled ones.
For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo, on a large waste-paper basket. Dora was Drogo's sister and the eldest female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century.
For MILO BURROWS, hoping it will be useful, from B.B., on a gold pen and ink-bottle. Milo never answered letters.
For ANGELICA's use, from Uncle Bilbo, on a round convex mirror. She was a young Baggins, and too obviously considered her face shapely.
For the collection of HUGO BRACEGIRDLE, from a contributor, on an (empty) book-case. Hugo was a great borrower of books, and worse than usual at returning them.
For LOBELIA SACKVILLE-BAGGINS, AS A PRESENT, on a case of silver spoons. Bilbo believed that she had acquired a good many of his spoons, while he was away on his former journey. Lobelia knew that quite well. When she arrived later in the day, she took the point at once, but she also took the spoons.
This is only a small selection of the assembled presents. Bilbo's residence had got rather cluttered up with things in the course of his long life. It was a tendency of hobbit-holes to get cluttered up: for which the custom of giving so many birthday-presents was largely responsible. Not, of course, that the birthday-presents were always new, there were one or two old mathoms of forgotten uses that had circulated all around the district; but Bilbo had usually given new presents, and kept those that he received. The old hole was now being cleared a little.
Every one of the various parting gifts had labels, written out personally by Bilbo, and several had some point, or some joke. But, of course, most of the things were given where they would be wanted and welcome. The poorer hobbits, and especially those of Bagshot Row, did very well. Old Gaffer Gamgee got two sacks of potatoes, a new spade, a woollen waistcoat, and a bottle of ointment for creaking joints. Old Rory Brandybuck, in return for much hospitality, got a dozen bottles of Old Winyards; a strong red wine from the Southfarthing, and now quite mature, as it had been laid down by Bilbo's father. Rory quite forgave Bilbo, and voted him a capital fellow after the first bottle.
There was plenty of everything left for Frodo. And, of course, all the chief treasures, as well as the books, pictures, and more than enough furniture, were left in his possession. There was, however, no sign nor mention of money or jewellery: not a penny-piece or a glass bead was given away.
Frodo had a very trying time that afternoon. A false rumour that the whole household was being distributed free spread like wildfire; and before long the place was packed with people who had no business there, but could not be kept out. Labels got torn off and mixed, and quarrels broke out. Some people tried to do swaps and deals in the hall; and others tried to make off with minor items not addressed to them, or with anything that seemed unwanted or unwatched. The road to the gate was blocked with barrows and handcarts.
In the middle of the commotion the Sackville-Bagginses arrived. Frodo had retired for a while and left his friend Merry Brandybuck to keep an eye on things. When Otho loudly demanded to see Frodo, Merry bowed politely.
'He is indisposesd' he said. 'He is resting.'
'Hiding, you mean,' said Lobelia. 'Anyway we want to see him and we mean to see him. Just go and tell him so!'
Merry left them a long while in the hall, and they had time to discover their parting gift of spoons. It did not improve their tempers. Eventually they were shown into the study. Frodo was sitting at a table with a lot of papers in front of him. He looked indisposed – to see Sackville-Bagginses at any rate; and he stood up, fidgeting with something in his pocket. But he spoke quite politely.
The Sackville-Bagginses were rather offensive. They began by offering him bad bargain-prices (as between friends) for various valuable and unlabelled things. When Frodo replied that only the things specially directed by Bilbo were being given away, they said the whole affair was very fishy.
'Only one thing is clear to me,' said Otho, 'and that is that you are doing exceedingly well out of it. I insist on seeing the will.'
Otho would have been Bilbo's heir, but for the adoption of Frodo. He read the will carefully and snorted. It was, unfortunately, very clear and correct (according to the legal customs of hobbits, which demand among other things seven signatures of witnesses in red ink).
'Foiled again!' he said to his wife. 'And after waiting sixty years. Spoons? Fiddlesticks!' He snapped his fingers under Frodo's nose and stumped off. But Lobelia was not so easily got rid of. A little later Frodo came out of the study to see how things were going on and found her still about the place, investigating nooks and corners and tapping the floors. He escorted her firmly off the premises, after he had relieved her of several small (but rather valuable) articles that had somehow fallen inside her umbrella. Her face looked as if she was in the throes of thinking out a really crushing parting remark; but all she found to say, turning round on the step, was:
'You'll live to regret it, young fellow! Why didn't you go too? You don't belong here; you're no Baggins – you – you're a Brandybuck!"
'Did you hear that, Merry? That was an insult, if you like,' said Frodo as he shut the door on her.
'It was a compliment,' said merry Brandybuck, 'and so, of course, not true.'
Speaking of #2, on the subject of Dora Baggins, I'd like to recommend dreamflower02's Miss Dora Baggins's Book of Manners, which is every bit as stuffy as that old fussbudget Bilbo took pleasure in tweaking - but still a very fun read. Not bad advice, either, as far as etiquette goes.
Speaking of #3, and speaking of good Tolkien poetry and roads going ever on, remembering the party puts me in a mood to remember the BBC radio adaptation of Lord of the Rings, which I actually heard before I read the book. Here is Ian Holm (yes, that Ian Holm) voicing Frodo for the adaptation reciting the "Road Goes Ever On" poem.
On a different (but still Tolkien-centric) note,
--- I finally got around to making some edits to an old Tolkien fanfic yesterday. Nothing major, just some scenes that were roughly written and needed some fleshing out in minor ways. The story in question is one of the first ones I ever wrote way back in 2003: A Conspiracy Forged, which tells the story of a young Pippin's adventures at Bilbo's long-expected party.
--- Over at Tumblr, I talked a bit about why the Ring might have affected Bilbo and Frodo differently (setting aside the obvious story-external explanation that Tolkien just hadn't worked out what the Ring was when he wrote The Hobbit.
Changing tracks completely, I thought I'd share some photos I took. First was from two nights ago, when we had a little bit of rain. I popped down to the bodega at a little past midnight and everything was all clean-smelling from the rain and just had a really cool mood to it.
... and today because it's finally properly fall, I was able to wear a slinky shirt that's long-sleeved, or at least three-quarters. I get warm so easily, it's a rare treat to wear winter clothes. This was not the slinky shirt I wanted to wear, the seven-year-old one that somehow is still in good condition and has great sentimental value because it was my mum's and is somewhere around here but likely buried under one of about three piles I need to sort. But it is a slinky shirt, properly autumnal.
Just so you know: there really isn't a good way to take a picture of yourself without it looking like a selfie. Even at the lowest zoom, my arms aren't long enough to get much more than roughly 2/3 of my face.
One bit of good news of the RL sort: I secured a phone interview for Thursday afternoon, administrative work for a tutoring charity up in Harlem. It would mean I'd get to learn how to use Raiser's Edge (I do not need to talk about how hard it is to get experience in something you can't already do, I'm sure), which I'd really like, and the work could be good in lots of ways - good fit, good and meaningful, but also good for me. Here's hoping.