On the Silent Watchers

The Tower of Cirith Ungol

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The Silent Watchers of Cirith Ungol (Source)

The world is silently watching.

Some are watching silently like the guarding statues of Cirith Ungol. Their presence not only exudes unwavering vigilance and piercing sight, but lingering malice and halting terror. Such things lurk in the shadows, hiding their true forms under gloom and inattentiveness, fostering chaos, disorder, rage, and malice. They harken to presence of things outside of their plan and dominion, and they resound in the night in warning to all things that share their intention. They both seek to warder off and strive to keep in. They are waiting, silently watching, seeing where the cards fall so as to improve their position. Only with great will and great valor can one escape their corruption.

There are others watching silently, in fear and in uncertainty, like Frodo in the tower’s keep. Powerless against the powers that be, caged in circumstances beyond their control, their vision is dark indeed. From their small windows and narrowed perspective the world seems dark indeed, and few if any can they hope will remember them or come to their aid. They are tormented and mocked, scorned and brutalized, whether physically or emotionally, and left naked and unknown. They have fled from the terror of Shelob only to find terror anew; the few things they hoped to carry confiscated from them, their very presence a nuisance and a cause for infighting. Yet while they silently watch in sadness beyond weeping, they tune their ears for the strands of a song from their homeland, a song of joy and of hope.

And there are others watching silently, in deliberation and decision, like Sam upon the doorstep. Reason has failed them; all options seem deplorable and undesirable. Temptations abound: to give up, to give way, to become the very things feared for the sake of noble intentions. All observations and strategies offer only desolation and dwindling hope; yet even in the great chaos that stands before them they might find a way. They see before them the others watching silently, and their choice is simple enough: to stand in solidarity against the former or give silent consent to the torment of the later.

And the world is silently watching.

For the world has always been watching and waiting, silently, for the unfolding of the choices of man. Long ago in Jerusalem such a choice reached its climax, but in every generation it occurs in a new way, with new actors, in new settings, a reflection rippling across time. There have always been those who would shape the darkness to their own ends; so too today. There have always been those who are victims of the darkness, so too today. There have always been those who must choose to accept the darkness begrudgingly or strive against it with little hope; so too today. The world is silently watching, from the slopes of Calgary to the steps of our homes and communities. When the silence is broken, where shall we be?


2015’s Reflection: “On Betrayal and Loyalty

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