Watches of the Night

(a letter from Ignatio to his sister)

Daililly Halefoot
Brockenborings
East Farthing
Shire

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,

Ignatio

———————————————

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.

-Kristen Getty

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