Writer's Challenge ~ SPRING!

<b>Hobbit Feet</b>

by

<b>nunke</B>


Spring finally arrived today and
I greeted my garden in the hobbit way -

Enjoying the cool of new grass as it grows,
Feeling soft earth under my toes,

Checking for bloodroot, maidenhair fern,
Wild ginger and bleeding heart in its turn,

Taking the time to uproot a weed,
Carefully, prayerfully, planting a seed.

'Til at last my wandring path I did cease,
(my tender soles greatly disturbed my peace)

and limped home for my shoes - I simply forgot
That a hobbit's feet I have not.


*******


<b>Echoes</B>

by

<b>Rana-Minethlos</b>


<em>O, hark, O, hear!  How thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O, sweet and far from hill and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson</em>

Even then he was not young. 

Kementari’s children had walked the earth for a long time, singing the songs that sounded through the land, speaking to their brethren.  The years went on, and now it was Spring again.

The willow-meads were green, the drooping branches young, leaves delicate and soft.  The Ent reached out one long woody hand and brushed them with the very tips of his fingers.  The tree murmured in response.

Soft winds and deep water, brother.  The earth here is good.

The Ent looked up to the sky.  The Sun was rising still, clouds slowly giving way before her.  The air was warm and hazy, and he breathed in as much as his lungs could hold.  This was a strong place, a gentle place, and he would be sad to see it go.

Willows bend, he mused.  Willows bend and return again, and give the young ones what they may, virtue of their bark and leaf, but still…even they shall not be able to come back from this.

Those woods were not so far from the shore, and the Ent knew what was coming.  The Valar might love their world, but they did not always account for what might happen to it through their mighty protection.  He had left but a few more seasons, and then eastward it would be.  The wide days were nearly gone.  

He left the tree, and walked slowly on, whispering to the others and listened to their soft replies.  There is a child here, brother, a child of the First-Born who has been lost.

And the Ent kept on, attentive to their voices as they led him.  These were kindly trees, who would look after one almost their own.

By the bank of the river Narog sat an Elf, gazing out over the water. To the Ent he seemed more out of place than was wont for his kind; his garb was dark and his face sober.

“Good morrow, cousin,” rumbled the Ent.  “My brothers say you are a child lost.”

The Elf looked up, then stood and gracefully bowed.  “I am not so young, cousin, nor so bewildered as your kindred thinks.”

“Nevertheless,” returned the Ent, gravely, “these willows are not easily led astray.  You may not be lost, child, but you hardly seem found.”

The Elf smiled, a little, and did indeed look younger for a moment.  “That may be, but I shall find myself as well sitting here as anywhere else.”

“So you are lost.”  The Ent smiled, a slow, serene, and tree-ish smile.  “Is it just yourself you seek?”

“So I believe.”  The Elf paused, and then suddenly continued.  “It is Spring, but ice fills my thoughts.”

“I do not know much of ice,” said the Ent.  “We leave each other be.”

The Elf smiled again, rueful.  “A laudable arrangement, cousin.  But I and mine crossed the greatest ice long ago, and it has stayed with us since.”

“Oh, child.”  The Ent sighed.  “Is it not enough that the sun is shining now?  When you grow as old as I you will not heed the past so much.”

“Indeed?” said the Elf. 

“It is Spring,” the Ent replied.  “And soon enough it will be autumn, a last autumn, and you will be obliged to think of now.”

“I hope so,” said the Elf.  “I hope so, cousin.”

“You shall.”  The Ent smiled, and with a rustle he was back among his own.  It was Spring, and there were songs to be sung.  The past can only keep.

Finis

<em>Post-note: I live in hope that there are persons just as obsessed with Tolkien's poetry as I; this ficlet is a referenceto Treebeard's poem beginning 'In the willow-meads of Tasarinan I walked in the Spring/Ah, the sight and the smell of the spring in Nan-tathran!/And I said that was good' in chapter IV of The Two Towers, page 458 of my edition. </em>


*******


<b>Sign of the Season</b>

by <b>Yona</b>

The ice broke on the river and the lake that had lain for months like a dull piece of slate dropped to the mountainside by some careless giant-child. One evening all was silence, then in the night there was a crack and a boom and a spiderweb of shattered ice snaked across the surface. In the morning the roar of the river was heard again, as it had been heard in years past.

It was not the happy noise of a summer river, or the voice of an autumn one, it was the roar of the first rush of the thawing watershed. Ice crashing against ice, bounding forward, smashing up against another, sending sprays of water leaping onward. It was the full throated song of the river’s new life, battle-hymn of the mountains, the thunder of ice-choked water hungry for the Sea.

Along the surrounding slopes and hillsides the snowy blanket had given way to slush, and the muddy tracks of all who passed showed starkly, until the whiteness melted away to leave them with their fellows. Last year’s grass sprawled against the soggy earth in damp and broken mats, and on the bushes the bare twigs stood into the heavily warming air and lifted fingers towards the sky and strengthening sun. Trees stood in state, unadorned, biding their time, when they would furl their little banners and let green leaves hide the hillsides.

Barin stumped along through the slush and slippery mud, running a critical eye over the changes taking place in the woods. Woolen garments and leather jerkin was enough to keep him warm today, he had left his cloak hanging on a hook at home for this ramble.
His bright eyes caught every branch and twig, and every rabbit’s track, but thus far he had not seen what he was looking for.

Across the lake from him the massive face of a cliff rose like a rampart, and from its carved cavern flowed the river. From its depths Barin could catch the gleam of armor or glint of an axe, but all sounds were drowned by the river-roar. There, in those halls were his folk. All but him, for most of the others did not care for these things as he did. He was out alone this morning, and if he turned away from the lake he could easily have been one of the Seven Fathers, newly awakened when the world was young. A spot of color caught his eye and he wheeled. Hurrying over to where a snow bank was melting back from a hollow he found what he sought.
 
Spears of green were thrust from the muddy ground and atop a slender stem a purple six-petaled cup was open to the world. At its heart lay a golden medley, calmly proclaiming what is most important, whether in man, beast …or flower.

Barin clapped his hands in delight. "A crocus!" he shouted, happily. "Spring is here!"
And that day spring officially came to the Lonely Mountain.


*******
 

<b>Sam and Rosie; A long expected wedding</b>

by

<Lalaith-Elerrina</b>


Sam swallowed against his waistcoat as he studied himself in the oval mirror, spring sunlight spilling in a golden haze through the window behind him. 

Rosie was getting ready too, and Sam picture her in his mind, her mother and aunts fussing over her, and her smiling, with that dimple on her cheek.  His reflection grinned at the thought, a rather silly grin, but Sam didn’t care. 

Sam’s gaze fell on the table behind his reflection, the envelope with the broken seal of green wax, and the parchment beside it that had answered his letter announcing his engagement to Rosie Cotton.

In her flowing script, Lalaith had offered her congratulations, and also added news of her own.  The baby of her friends in Lothlórien had been born two months before in March, a boy with hair of a golden honey color, and warm blue eyes.  And they had named him Halmir.  Lalaith’s baby, a girl she was certain, would arrive midsummer.

Sam couldn’t keep a chuckle as he pictured Lalaith, plump with baby, toddling about Eryn Lasgalen where she lived now.  Ah, but she must be proud.  Legolas too.  The Elf would make a good papa.  And Gimli a splendid godfather.

Laughter from the room beyond brought Sam back as four Hobbits came striding in.

“Well, look at you!” Pippin crowed, hitching his thumbs through his suspenders.

“Nervous?” Merry queried, hands stuffed in his pockets.

Sam smoothed his hands down his front.  “Do I look it?”

“Not at all,” Frodo assured him. 

“Mark my words,” Gaffer croaked, “s’bad luck for th’groom t’be later’n the bride ta th’weddin’.”

Sam glanced at Frodo, noting his friend’s knowing smirk.

“He’s right,” Frodo clapped Sam’s shoulder.  “You don’t want to keep Rosie waiting.”

“Yeah,” Sam agreed.  Frodo guided him out the room toward the doorway that beckoned outside.  “She’s waited long enough already.”

The round porthole passed overhead, and the scent of spring met his nostrils as sunlight spilled everywhere.  Beside the doorway, and across the lane, flowers bloomed in a medley of colors.  Music played from over the near knoll, and a group of Hobbitlings, the girls’ hair all beribboned, scampered past toward the music.

“Lalaith was right,” Sam choked.  “Rosie waited.”

Silence settled over the four young Hobbits, and they turned their eyes upon one another as Sam’s gaffer shuffled past. 

the oval mirror, spring sunlight spilling in a golden haze through the window behind him. 

Rosie was getting ready too, and Sam picture her in his mind, her mother and aunts fussing over her, and her smiling, with that dimple on her cheek.  His reflection grinned at the thought, a rather silly grin, but Sam didn’t care. 

Sam’s gaze fell on the table behind his reflection, the envelope with the broken seal of green wax, and the parchment beside it that had answered his letter announcing his engagement to Rosie Cotton.

In her flowing script, Lalaith had offered her congratulations, and also added news of her own.  The baby of her friends in Lothlórien had been born two months before in March, a boy with hair of a golden honey color, and warm blue eyes.  And they had named him Halmir.  Lalaith’s baby, a girl she was certain, would arrive midsummer.

Sam couldn’t keep a chuckle as he pictured Lalaith, plump with baby, toddling about Eryn Lasgalen where she lived now.  Ah, but she must be proud.  Legolas too.  The Elf would make a good papa.  And Gimli a splendid godfather.

Laughter from the room beyond brought Sam back as four Hobbits came striding in.

“Well, look at you!” Pippin crowed, hitching his thumbs through his suspenders.

“Nervous?” Merry queried, hands stuffed in his pockets.

Sam smoothed his hands down his front.  “Do I look it?”

“Not at all,” Frodo assured him. 

“Mark my words,” Gaffer croaked, “s’bad luck for th’groom t’be later’n the bride ta th’weddin’.”

Sam glanced at Frodo, noting his friend’s knowing smirk.

“He’s right,” Frodo clapped Sam’s shoulder.  “You don’t want to keep Rosie waiting.”

“Yeah,” Sam agreed.  Frodo guided him out the room toward the doorway that beckoned outside.  “She’s waited long enough already.”

The round porthole passed overhead, and the scent of spring met his nostrils as sunlight spilled everywhere.  Beside the doorway, and across the lane, flowers bloomed in a medley of colors.  Music played from over the near knoll, and a group of Hobbitlings, the girls’ hair all beribboned, scampered past toward the music.

“Lalaith was right,” Sam choked.  “Rosie waited.”

Silence settled over the four young Hobbits, and they turned their eyes upon one another as Sam’s gaffer shuffled past. 

“This is only the beginning,” Frodo murmured.  “Happiness we once thought we’d never see.  It’s starting to happen.”

“Well?” Gaffer called from the gate.  “Estella an’ Diamond’re goin’ta be there.”

“Ooh!” Merry and Pippin chirped.  Sam and Frodo traded a knowing glance.

“Come on, Sam.” Frodo clapped Sam’s back.  “Let’s get you and Rosie married.”

Sam blinked hard, his vision blurry.  He had been at Frodo’s side through so much despair.  Now, Frodo was at his side on the happiest day of his life.

Sam gulped.  Words wouldn’t suffice.  He’d never been a Hobbit of many words anyway.  But he could see from Frodo’s smile that he understood.

“Alright,” Sam managed. 


*******


<b>Ah, Spring</b>

by

<b>Dubatuluk</b>

The spring of 1421 dawned bright and fair with green buds and more daylight to see them by.  It had been two years since the downfall of "Sharkey" at Bagshot Row, and the Shire could not be more beautiful to look upon. 

One fine morning on the twenty-fifth of April, one month after the birth of Elanor Gamgee, an old man in white came down the garden path of Bag End, and knocked on the door.  In years previous, the former occupant of the hole came wheezing to the door grumbling about people not using the door-bell; however, the occupants that now inhabited the famous hole were accustomed to Gandalf's seemingly uncouth gesture, and greeted him at the door with warm hugs and a wailing baby girl.

Gandalf sat at table with Frodo and Sam, and talked about their adventures together.  He noticed that Frodo seemed a little odd despite his genial mood.  His skin was pale and his forehead drawn, and he had only seen Frodo so once before in Rivendell.  He almost said something when Rosie came out of the kitchen with second breakfast.  Having not eaten since he arrived two hours before, he decided to let it wait until he could speak to Frodo alone. 

Taking his leave for a moment, he went to retrieve his pipe so he would not have to do so later, but found it was not in his cloak pocket where he had left it.  He searched every other pocket to make sure he had not made a mistake, but it was nowhere to be found.  Sighing, he decided to check elsewhere after breakfast, and as he made to return to the dining-room, a cooing sound came from behind the cloak rack.  Carefully, he pulled back the many layers of fabric, and found, to his surprise, little Elanor playing with nothing other than his pipe.   

He had never dealt with children this small before, so he was a little put off, at first, by her lack of respect for others' things, only to remember she was only a month old.  He picked her and the pipe up, and carried her back to the dining-room.  The thought dawned on him that one-month old babies did not crawl around or reach into pockets that were over a foot off the ground to find something to play with.  As he untangled the laughing baby's hands from his beard he mentioned so to Sam.

"Ah, yes Gandalf sir.  She has been crawling for a week now.  We weren't very surprised though.  All of last year's babies were crawling and even walking, sir, before they could talk."

Chuckling, Gandalf looked down at Elanor in his arms.  She had forsaken his pipe and was busily re-entangling her hands in his beard.  He sighed, and decided to let it be.  What was magic for, after all, if not disentangling small hands from one's beard?

Frodo, Sam and Rosie all laughed, and second-breakfast was spent in merriment and much ducking as Elanor sent food flying around the room. 

After breakfast, Gandalf and Frodo sat in the garden smoking their pipes and watching Elanor terrorise the insects in the garden. 

"Ah," said Gandalf, "spring!"


*******
 Memories

(An ent is flooded with reminders of a happier time.)

by ElanorTheHobbit


The last snows grudgingly surrendered to the sudden warmth of the sun, losing themselves in the thought of a new season. Spring again? It hardly seemed possible. Winter should have stretched on for months—for years—the sun could not be shining so gaily, it was not possible. How had spring risen from the darkness, the cold bleakness of that winter?
His limbs were stretched motionless above his head, as if in defiance of the light. His deep eyes barely seemed to see. They would not look at the flowers that crept up despite the musty layers of leaves which spoke silently of the time, the unbearable time of solitude they had borne.
Even in the slight breeze, wandering gaily across the open fields, could not make him stir. The distant scents of gardens, of unripe fruits and of small greens peering out of rich dirt, passed by him unnoticed. They continued on, unthinking, and were enveloped by the heavy scent of moss, of wet and dark, lost for all time.
A sound—a distant rumbling, almost musical, finally roused the pensive Ent. It was faint, as though it had come across a great expanse. Perhaps even across time. Across time, yes, that was it. Thoughtful, somehow reluctant, he looked about him, taking in what he sensed: the warmth of the sun, the flowers and the far-off gardens, even the sound—yes, most of all the sound. For a moment something glinted deep in his eye. The breeze died down; all was perfectly still, waiting, expectant.
The Ent sighed, and slowly turned. He strode wearily back through the trees, into the shadows, back to the heart of his forest. A chill settled about him, despite the merry brightness of the sun above. The sun had lied; it was not spring. The winter would never end.

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