For the Purposes of Remembrance

The Grey Havens

60_Red Book.jpg

The Red Book of Westmarch (Source)

Time passes. Memories fade. The Third Age ends. The Elves are passing into the West, taking their wisdom with them. The great minds of our story – Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, even Bilbo – go with them.

History is long, but memory is short. Already a generation of hobbits are born that will not know of the Scouring of the Shire. Already are too few of the little people interested in the tales from beyond Bree, of the downfall of the Dark Lord and the return of the King. Already things evade thought and recollection.

Yet, we must remember. We must remember for what we fought and sacrificed. We must remember what we almost lost and incredibly won. We must remember nine-fingered Frodo, and Samwise the Brave, and the party tree, and the beauty of Lorien.

How shall we remember? What should we put forward for the purposes of remembrance?

A tree: the only mallorn east of the mountains and west of the sea, a fair golden symbol, a remembrance of a fair land now lost to the legends.

A book: the writings of Bilbo and Frodo, the recounting of the great deeds of the little people, the remarkable adventures, the going and the coming, the story as we know it.

A girl: the daughter of Sam and Rosie, with the yellow hair of a blessed year, with the name of simple flower made even more beautiful for the memories it recalls.

Some must leave us. Some must give up good things so that other may have them.

Some will remain. We that remain must do what we can for the purposes of remembrance. We must not be torn but whole. We must read from the tales to our children and friends. We must right the small wrongs that abide the triumph already accomplished. We must keep the memory of the older days alive so that what was good, and true, and beautiful shall not perish so swiftly in relentless flow of time.

Already, how much have we lost. Already, how endangered is our ancient knowledge, our ancient wisdom, our rituals and traditions, our history and our stories. In the age of instantaneous and accessible knowledge, the threat of forgetfulness is all the more startling. We do what we can – planting the tree, reading the book, naming our children – for the purposes of remembrance. It is all we can do, until the grey curtain of the whole world is turned back to a new green country in a swift sunrise.

2016’s Reflection: “On the Simple Rewards of a Good Life
2015’s Reflection: “On What Lies Beyond the Circles of This World


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