There is a beauty in the world that goes beyond skin deep, in fact, beyond the very atoms themselves.
There is a beauty in the world that goes beyond skin deep, in fact, beyond the very atoms themselves.
I think I owe my mother an apology. She has said all she wants for her children are for us to be happy-a phrase I’ve always considered shallow.
But being happy and feeling happy mean very different things. Kinda like loving bacon and loving my wife mean totally different things.
Well, mostly. Ykwim.
We’ve been surrounded by celebrity death in the news a lot lately. Losing people is sad, but I can grieve yet still be happy.
When I lose dear things or people it shakes me a moment. I remember that loss is an inevitable part of life. In moments of loss I examine myself and ask what am I doing with the time given me? Am I living up to myself, that is, to my convictions? My feelings of happy or sad hinge on this, but either way I end up with a overwhelming sense of gratitude for what time I have had and still may have.
Tolkien knew what he was talking about. There is good work to be done. And so, in whatever times you find yourself, I want to say today that l wish you a very happy and prosperous 2017.
Brigo Halefoot is a hobbit from LotRO’s Crickhollow server who also plays The Long Dark & Landmark. He stresses frequently over which game to play. You may find also him on Twitter @Halefoot.
The seasons are changing and most of us are having some sort of a time getting adapted. We find our bodies rebelling to one or another degree, and right now I’m in one of those low-grade fever achy tight-throated zombie drone funks. I don’t play many computer games. Only three really, but they all have their place. The Long Dark is my top pick to play when I have a cold or feel miserable. I’ve had this game for over a year I, and I still enjoy it immensely especially when I feel like crap. This game won’t make me feel better, but I feel better than the poor dude who’s lost in the game. I may have a cold but at least I’m not getting my face ripped off like Jeremiah Johnson. And heaven knows I’m better off than all the frozen stiffs stuck in the snow who rarely drop anything for me. (You see what I did there?) In this game, I can consider myself the healthiest person in the world.
Perhaps I should mention that my other two games are MMOs. Those involve a lot of people. If you’re so sick you can’t stand the thought of saying “Hi, kin” when you log on then you are in business here. There is nobody around. Bodies, but nobody. I think they might be changing this in story mode, but maybe not. I haven’t got a clue. I’m to busy playing to mess much with forums.
The game has a variety of modes, each which serve a different purpose. If your cold isn’t that bad and you want to run around like Kevin Costner then choose Pilgrim Mode. In this mode the wolves are your best buddies. I don’t mean that like you, I mean they stay the crap away from you. They’re still man’s best friend because they’ll kill other animals that you can then scare them away from. I honestly don’t recall what the bears are doing in this mode. I choose to stay away just in case. Navel-gazers and OCD completionists/map makers/screenshot junkies play here.
In Voyager Mode the wolves might attack, or they might not depending largely on what you do keep them away. This mode is right if you’re not quite a pansy but you’re not Bear Grylls in Stalker Mode. Voyager’s where I usually hang out when I’m not sick and wouldn’t mind sticking around a bit. This mode is like flipping a coin to see if you get lots of stuff or if you have to hunt for everything. Like I said, it’s good if you want a decent chance to survive (you still won’t for awhile) & have fun (you probably will immediately) but don’t want to be thought a wuss. The challenge is good.
Okay. There’s the really tough Stalker Mode where all the animals hate you (exaggeration), but let’s be serious. If you want to do that why not just go the gusto and play Interloper Mode where the whole of Canada hates you. Let’s say you don’t have an allergy or cold, you have the flu. You’re praying to the toilet to finish you off. That’s what Interloper is for. If you wish that you could be eaten by a bear, wolf, or rabbit then this mode is for you. The rabbits won’t eat you, but you won’t have time to think about that because everything else will kill you first. You thought Bear Grylls tough for drinking his own pee? Psha! Bear Grylls might be chewing his fingers off in this mode. Think you have what it takes? It doesn’t matter. You’ll die. Eventually.
So let’s see where this leaves us. I guess most of us when we’re feeling puny and pitiful want to know that this somehow is going to end mercifully. We’re just looking for something to distract us long enough to remember that life is worth living. What’s cool about The Long Dark is that if you want to see how long you can live you can, and if you want to see how fast you can die in an hour you can do that too. If you just want to wander about aimlessly and stare at the beautiful scenery you can. If you want to challenge yourself beyond the modes the devs developed you can. For example, I have one character I’m trying to keep alive without any gun, bow, or trap and just living off the land without killing anything–just scavenging in Voyager Mode.
I want to talk about the graphics. Seems every other Twitter post I see is someone going gaga over the artwork. The devs don’t rely on technical wonder to make it look realistic. Instead they’ve left that up to you and your mind’s eye. They’ve focused on making it FEEL real, and because it feels as real as any game I’ve played my imagination easily fills in the details. It works! Instead of precise lines and textures the team so far has relied more on realistic lighting, atmosphere, and subtle color shifts and weather moods. It’s astounding.
When people aren’t talking about how beautiful The Long Dark is, they’re talking about how they have to put on a sweater when they play. Or how much tea they‘ve started drinking. Or how they hear crows and look up in the sky. Or how they come out the front door and carefully look left and right, <.< >.> like that, and left and right again before they step off the porch. This game gets to you. If you’re allergic to peanut butter be careful. There’s lots of it (unlike something else…grr).
The first dozen times you play you should record your vitals and submit them to your PCP as a stress test. I think this game boosts the immune system. If not for The Long Dark I’d be much sicker today I’m sure of it.
There are a couple criticisms I have at the moment:
1. After a recent update I can now see my arms. But those aren’t my arms. This compromises my immersion. I hope they’ll reconsider at least for Sandbox Mode. If we’re playing a character in Story Mode then that’s one thing, but if I am simply me abandoned in the vast freezing forsaken Canadian wilderness I really don’t want to see what I look like.
2. Pie. There is none in game…grr. Yet. The fact that there’s no pie and I still play speaks volumes. Gross oversight, but this is Beta. I’m sure it’s a bug.
Ok. That’s it. This is my first game review. I’ve tried not to edit to much cause I’m not a writer, and I respect those that do so why put on airs? You’ve read this, now go buy The Long Dark if you haven’t already. If it’s on sale, great. If not, still buy it and throw the devs a bone. They deserve it.
Thanks for your time. I’m of to get some tea. And pie.
Brigo Halefoot is a hobbit from LotRO’s Crickhollow server who also plays Landmark. He stresses frequently over which game to play. You may find also him on Twitter @Halefoot.
I was introduced to this poem at the start of our pastor’s sermon at worship this morning. The prayer got my mind wandering and since this site is about wandering and I’ve not posted in awhile, I thought it worthwhile. The stuff afterwards is simply where my mind went after hearing it. The sermon wasn’t bad, but one of those where I ended up wandering down scripture bunny trails instead. “It’s a dangerous business, Mr. Brigo…there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
To be clear, Christians believe God is an entity separate from the rest of the created universe, though He is able, obviously, to interact with it. I mention this because I saw this posted on a Buddhist site as well (though still puzzled why since it mentions God?). I’ve yet to research Kierkegaard himself, but as one who believes there is one truth, one way, and one life who is named Jesus I liked it. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all. Having been created in His image, make no mistake that we are all wonderfully made and inherently worthwhile to God. Enjoy.
Father in Heaven, what are we without you?
What is all that we know, vast accumulation though it be,
But a chipped fragment if we do not know you?
What is all our striving?
Could it ever encompass a world,
But a half-finished work
If we do not know you?
You, the One who is one thing and who is all.
So may you give
To the intellect, wisdom to comprehend that one thing
To the heart, sincerity to receive this and this only
To the will, purity that wills only one thing
In prosperity, may you grant perseverance to will one thing
Amid distraction, collectedness to will one thing
In suffering, patience to will one thing.
You that gives both the beginning and the completion
May you early, at the dawn of the day,
Give to the young the resolution to will one thing
As the day wanes, may you give to the old
A renewed remembrance of that first resolution
That the first may be like the last
And the last like the first
In possession of a life that has willed only one thing,
To know God.
-Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing
(Translated from the Danish)
[The following scriptures were obtained through BibleGateway.com . Go there if you want to see the notations. The bold stuff was what I was thinking of that led me to these passages.]
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
12 Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “[a]I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” 13 Then the Pharisees told Him, “You are testifying on Your own behalf; Your testimony is not valid.” 14 Jesus replied, “Even if I do testify on My own behalf, My testimony is valid, because I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to [b]human standards [just by what you see]. I do not judge anyone. 16 But even if I do judge, My judgment is true and My decision is right; for I am not alone [in making it], but I and the Father who sent Me [make the same judgment]. 17 Even in your own law it is written that the testimony of two persons is true [valid and admissible]. 18 I am One [of the Two] who testifies about Myself, and My Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”19 Then the Pharisees said to Him, “Where is this Father of Yours?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” 20 Jesus said these things in the treasury, as He taught in the temple [courtyard]; and no one seized Him, because His time had not yet come.
31 So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples. 32 And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been enslaved to anyone. [d]What do You mean by saying, ‘You will be set free’?”
34 Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, everyone who practices sin habitually is a slave of sin. 35 Now the slave does not remain in a household forever; the son [of the master] does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you plan to kill Me, because My word has no place [to grow] in you [and it makes no change in your heart]. 38 I tell the things that I have seen at My Father’s side [in His very presence]; so you also do the things that you heard from your father.”
49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon. On the contrary, I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 However, I am not seeking glory for Myself. There is One who seeks [glory for Me] and judges [those who dishonor Me]. 51 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if anyone keeps My word [by living in accordance with My message] he will indeed never, ever see and experience [f]death.” 52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon [and are under its power]. Abraham died, and also the prophets; yet You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never, ever taste of death.’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too! Whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is [worth]nothing. It is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 Yet you do not know Him, but I know Him fully. If I said I did not know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham [greatly] rejoiced to see My day (My incarnation). [g]He saw it and was delighted.” 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not even fifty years old, and You [claim to] have seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus replied, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, before Abraham was born, [h]I Am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus concealed Himself and left the temple.
10 “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up from some other place [on the stone wall], that one is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep [the protector and provider]. 3 The[a]doorkeeper opens [the gate] for this man, and the sheep hear his voice and pay attention to it. And [knowing that they listen] he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [to pasture]. 4 When he has brought all his own sheep outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice and recognize his call.5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what He was talking about.
7 So Jesus said again, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, I am[b]the Door for the sheep [leading to life]. 8 All who came before Me [as false messiahs and self-appointed leaders] are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the Door; anyone who enters through Me will be saved [and will live forever], and will go in and out[freely], and find pasture (spiritual security). 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].
11 [c]I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd [d]lays down His [own]life for the sheep. 12 But the hired man [who merely serves for wages],who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming, deserts the flock and runs away; and the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The man runs because he is a hired hand [who serves only for wages] and is not concerned about the[safety of the] sheep. 14 I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]— 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My [very own] life [sacrificing it]for the benefit of the sheep. 16 I have [e]other sheep [beside these] that are not of this fold. I must bring those also, and they will listen to My voice and pay attention to My call, and they will become [f]one flock with one Shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My [own] life so that I may take it back. 18 No one takes it away from Me, but I lay it down voluntarily. I am authorized and have power to lay it down and to give it up, and I am authorized and have power to take it back. This command I have received from My Father.”
19 A division [of opinion] occurred again among the Jews because of these words [of His]. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon and He is mad [insane—He raves and rambles]. Why listen to Him?” 21 Others were saying, “These are not the words and thoughts of one possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
22 At that time the [g]Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. 23 It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple [area] in [h]Solomon’s portico. 24 So the Jews surrounded Him and began saying to Him, “How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are [really] the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), tell us so plainly and openly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I have told you so, yet you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name testify concerning Me [they are My credentials and the evidence declaring who I am]. 26 But you do not believe Me [so you do not trust and follow Me] because you are not My sheep. 27 The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they will never, ever [by any means] perish; and no one will ever snatch them out of My hand. 29 [i]My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are One [in essence and nature].”
31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works [and many acts of mercy] from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “We are not going to stone You for a good work, but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, make Yourself out to be God.”34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods [human judges representing God, not divine beings]’? 35 If He[j]called them gods, men to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be undone or annulled or broken), 36 [if that is true]then do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and set apart for Himself and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father [that is, the miracles that only God could perform], then do not believe Me. 38 But if I am doing them, even if you do not believe Me or have faith in Me, [at least] believe the works [that I do—admit that they are the works of God], so that you may know and keep on knowing [clearly—without any doubt] that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father [that is, I am One with Him].” 39 So they tried again to seize Him, but He eluded their grasp.
40 He went back again across the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there. 41 Many came to Him, and they were saying, “John did not perform a single sign (attesting miracle), but everything John said about this Man was true and accurate.” 42 And many there believed and confidently trusted in Him [accepting Him as Savior, and following His teaching].
23 But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers.24 God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ—the Anointed); when that One comes, He will tell us everything [we need to know].” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you, am He (the Messiah).”
14 “Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe[confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. 4 And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “[a]I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing… Remains, yes
One thing Remains.
Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me
On and on and on and on it goes
Before, it overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains
So, one thing remains.
Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me
In death, In life, I’m confident and
Covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can
Separate my heart from Your great love…
I lost a friend yesterday. Seriously. No warning, no reasons, just basically a simple “Done with this account..” community tweet and that was it. Code 404 poof. He was (from everything I can tell) an upright guy I had befriended on Twitter. But I have no idea who he is.
I’m a bit confusticated, truth be told, but I have nothing to aim it at yet. Who am I to say it’s wrong to just up and leave Twitter for whatever reason, or to say anyone has to justify anything on Twitter? After all (at least in my circles) we don’t even know each others’ names (heh, heh…. I do know at least one, but I digress). It could be tempting to fall back on the “You don’t really know each other. It’s all pretend. Can’t trust the internet” blah blah and forget about it, but I’m not feeling that at all.
True, we could be pretending, but from what I can tell we’re all too lazy to put that much work into lying day after day after day after day… so I’m going with we’re more genuine than fake. Besides, I get encouragement from our Twitter kin of sorts as we help each other navigate our own particular potholes and bumps of the day, and that IS real. Mind you, we are a very diverse group politically, religiously, nationally, age-ally, etc-ally and some threads dip into testing the waters a bit, but the spirit of mutual respect always wins the day; or, at least, if not, we find some way to start talking about pie or something and all is forgiven. That’s what hobbits do. Twitter certainly isn’t the Green Dragon by any stretch, but it works more than not so long as we’re not too hasty to read too much into too little of each of those 144 character snapshot windows. I think I’m safe in saying we all get that, and so I also like to think our little community is strong.
Or it was. And I think that’s it. I’m mad because I wonder how did we lose someone like @Clew64? Whoever he is, he is a real person, and I care about that real person even if he’s really a lady named Pamela Rudd. [That’s a bad example–crazy lady fired me. She’s kinda like Dolores Unbridge. /shiver. But who knows, maybe she’s changed?] Twitter means different things to different people, but his bugging out means enough to me that I find myself bothered. Enough so that here I am sipping what used to be hot Earl Grey with a bit of honey in my new prize Chesterton mug typing another of the first 5 posts on this site I started months ago.
That’s a hint that you’re missed, @Clew64. I hope all really is well. You know were to find us. Wish I knew how to find you. Watch out for those thunderstorms they’re calling for on Tuesday.
And the rest of you Twitter peeps: don’t ever underestimate the impact you have on my life and the lives of those you meet. Even if it’s only 144 characters at a time.
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
(a letter from Ignatio to his sister)
9 Foreyule 1418
My Dearest Daililly,
The seasons move on. Even here the air has become crisper, the days of course shorter, and the nights clearer. The stark white moon gives some compensation as does the increased starlight since the trees have mostly shed their clothes in preparation for their long hibernation. Everything around me says it’s time to rest. You know, consistently this is my favorite time of the year. Many complain that everything is dying, and there’s some truth to that, but of course life goes on. There’s comfort in that.
I find myself forced to do less work (less daylight after all) and left with time to actually stop and think more. (I know you appreciate that! Ha!) My seasons move along, and, no mistake, someday my own winter will arrive. I hope my choices leave me pleased to rest when my time on Arda closes.
I’m sorry I could not join you during all the Harvestmath celebrations. I know it promised to be a strong year for all the Shire, and the end of the season didn’t seem too damp. I do hope Longbottom got all his leaf in the curing barn! I was able to enjoy some feasting with the elves believe it or not–if feasting it can be called. Plenty of food, yes, excellent meat and a wide variety of mushrooms and such, but queer seasonings. It wasn’t home, you know. I do miss home. My hat hasn’t hung on the same peg more than 2 days in a row for months. With colder weather approaching in unfamiliar lands my prospects for a proper extended rest isn’t very promising. But don’t worry: fires are warm, meat is plenty, clothing warm, and I’ve a good supply of pipeweed for the long night watches. Conversation is good, albeit all too focused on the tasks at hand, and these are for the most part quite sobering. You know, it’s never ceased to amaze me how the company of friends committed to the same purpose can bring courage and hope to the bleakest of times.
I’ll spare the details, just know that daily I am convinced this is where I belong. The need is great, the challenges still escape my comprehension, but this is right. We will do what we can while we can.
Give my best to the Overhills–particularly Iris if you have a mind (wink!). Celebrate the season, give thanks, but keep the watch. Be prepared. You always are, so I’ll not worry overly much, but these are wary times. May the Shire be spared.
All my love,
I look towards the wintering trees
To hush my fretful soul
As they rise to face the icy sky
And hold fast beneath the snow
Their rings grow wide, their roots go deep
That they might hold their height
And stand like valiant soldiers
Through the watches of the night
And no human shoulder ever bears
The weight of all the world
But hearts can sink beneath the ache
Of trouble’s sudden surge
Yet far beyond all knowing
There’s a strong unsleeping light
That reaches ‘round to hold me
Through the watches of the night
I have cried upon the steps that seem
Too steep for me to climb
And I’ve prayed against a burden
I did not want to be mine
But here I am and this is where
You’re calling me to fight
And You I will remember
Through the watches of the night
You I will remember
Through the watches of the night.
My story? Really? *skeptically* A pint? *grins from the left side of the face* Well, ok, sure… My take on it, eh? *settles elbows on table and leans forward* Well, we all have our stuff the way I see it. You know, the stuff we don’t really choose that points us toward whatever we become. We just happened to live in the Greenfields, and our family was just doing its part to help out like folks in the Eastfarthing do. That’s who we are and what we do. *mimics father* “There’s some things worth dying for,” Pops would say, and he and my mother proved that true, and I surely believe that still to this day, too. That’s why my mother wasn’t angry with Pops when he died defending the Shire when those Gramsfoots came creeping back. We knew what choosing to live on the border meant. In fact, my GrandPoppy and his “Gram-cracker” (that’s what he called his club) were part of the bounders back in the mid-2700s that taught Golfimbul and his band that we aren’t as soft as many bigger folk think. He’d tell me the story lots of times as a kid–AND that he wished the bounders had “finished the job” instead of stopping at the border, but back then live and let live seemed good enough even for horrid creatures–so long as they let the Shire be.
It was GrandPoppy’s ethic that struck Pops who also became a bounder up in the North Greenfields. He had seen what the goblins were capable of and anticipated rightly that peace in the Shire couldn’t be taken for granted anymore. “Peace, like trust, is earned,” he’d say along with countless other bits like “Eru is good, life is hard. Don’t confuse the two,” and, “Hard work gives meaning to life.” *smiles in memory* Pops wanted us to do our best at whatever we chose to do and not to take anything for granted. “There’s more to life than livin’,” he’d tell us so many times I could guess when it was coming. Ha! He and Ma’s lessons always seemed to revolve around life being good and hard. So many lessons. And so true! He and Momma were so full of joy. I could go on and on, but we’d run out of pipeweed. Everytime Pop’d leave he’d tell us how much he loved us and this land, and to take care of our mother and look after the neighbors. Everytime.
*expression becomes more serious* I lost him when I was 8 to another rogue band of Gramsfoots. Seems they used the caves this time to sneek further under the borders. The bounders still stopped them, but not before they killed a good number of our hobbits including my father. I remember my mother grieving, but with a sense of conviction and peace. *straightens, firmly tapping finger on the table* My folks understood the cost of peace and freedom and that living wasn’t an end to itself. Those bounders died honorably, and were missed deeply by their families. *brief silence as he settles back in his seat with a sigh*
She never remarried until I was out of my tweens. Mind you now, she had no trouble making male friends: She was a beautiful lady and quite popular. And–oh–hang on–I know that sounds a bit queer, but I’m simply saying that she was her own woman: strong, sharp, and with her hobbit feet firmly on the ground. She had my sissy and me to raise and just no room yet in the kitchen of her heart for another. I suspect getting over Pops was harder than she let on. All I’m saying is she was in a different place than most of the rest of Dwaling, or even Scary and the Brockenborings. Sadly, two years later the Gramfoots raided again and this time they made it to our farm. Ma and the dogs took out a good many of them, but she was hurt bad. She was pretty much incapacitated, and so it fell to my sister and me to continue work in the farm. I was 11 by then and Sissy 9. I was no stranger to trapping animals of course, or protecting the goats from the occasional wandering bear or wolf–oh–and those irritating boars rooting through the crops–oh–and shrews! I hate shrews! But where was I? Oh. It was hard work, but it was good. We didn’t lack for food (really, what hobbit ever does?) Now, it takes a smart cony to outwit even your average hobbit, but I became so good I got to where I didn’t even need traps anymore–I could catch them by hand when I had the time! I’d sell our overage with the neighbors to get tailoring stuff and all that we couldn’t get on our own.
I even developed a fair side business trading the odd mathoms I’d come across during my trapping rounds. My sneaking skills for coneys also came in handy for keeping a check on those old goblin caves: I’d sneak into their abandoned camps and come away with some of their own old stolen treasures. Gradually, I developed a quiet reputation for finding “lost things” with the locals. Sheriffs even started hiring me to check on things for them to help resolve family disputes. (I’d like to say all hobbits are honorable, but we aren’t infallible. I will say most of the time it was a simple misunderstanding.) About those goblin camps: Here lately I’ve seen more signs of their sneaking about. I nearly got caught when some returned to a cave I was in. True story! Thankfully, they tend to be loud and stupid, and doubly thankfully I’m good at making myself nearly invisible. *leans in confidently* I should say I am very good at it. *leans back* I don’t know what it will take to get these creatures out of here to give us peace in the Shire again, but I’m willing to do what it takes. That’s my upbringing, and I believe it’s the honorable way to live. *starts to rest his case…
…but on second thought* One more thing I want to make clear about those mathoms–some folks call what I’m doing um, “questionable”. I asked of myself the same thing. “Burglar” means different things to different folks but I’m no thief. We learned long ago in our family that if you do to others as you’d have done to yourself then we can all get along just fine. I’d rather focus on the food, drink, and happy song while in the company of family and good friends anyway. At least the stuff I find gets back to it’s owners or in the Mathom House where perhaps it can be found again. Well, most of it. Some stuff I know no one’s left to come looking for it again… *winks*
What’s that? My bottom line? I dunno, but to sum it up I guess I’d say something like this:
1. Life is precious.
2. It ain’t all about me.
3. Just cause it’s hard don’t mean it’s bad.
There. That work ok? Thanks for the interest. I’m gonna head back to my table now. *stands with short polite bow* Safe travels to you. *lifts mug in appreciation* Cheers!