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Thoughts

Section XXI-Winter Passing On

Merry and Pippin's visit felt very like a breath of spring. For the next few days, they caught us up on most of the doings pretty much throughout the whole of the Shire. They spent hours proudly regaling us with their antics at Brandy Hall. I admitted I was heartily glad I didn't have to put up with some of the pranks. Merry and Pippin threw sideway glances at each other and confessed that those at Brandy Hall had, to put it politely, instructed them to go and visit their dear cousin Frodo for a while. I rolled my eyes and groaned, shook my head and then could no longer maintain my serious composure; my smile would not stay hid. I should have known. Teasingly, I berated them for requiring marching orders to come and see me. Merry put on his best affronted air and informed me that they hadn't wanted to burden the ponies by traveling in the cold. He held the stance, perhaps a moment or two, and then mischievously grinned that in truth they were planning to come anyway since Brandy Hall had grown wearisome, particularly to those on the wrong end of their jokes. He continued on, again sounding quite offended, about not staying where one wasn't wanted. I couldn't stifle my own amused outburst especially after I heard Sam softly snort. We spent the rest of our time together telling tales and playing one game or another to pass the time away. After most of our meals, with Pippin's incorrigible instigation, we even indulged in a bit of song and collapsed into laughter at our own cleverness, or lack of it. Needless to say, not much work got done but both Sam and I were in need of the change, though me more than Sam. Their visit was much too short.

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How long ago it seems that Merry and Pippin were here. It's so cold this year. Sam says it's much like last year, but to me, the chill feels deeper somehow. Though the days grow longer again, they are still altogether too short and seem to sap my strength. I am tired, and yet I have done little to earn it. Sam, on the other hand, seems as busy as ever. Truthfully, he not only takes care of Bag End and me, but he helps out his mum and the Gaffer as well. He oversees the upkeep of both places including keeping us in firewood. I have done a smidgen myself when the mood strikes me, a bit of a novelty or change of pace if you know what I mean, but truly Sam manages to keep everything well in hand.

I do hope winter passes soon. Its long dark can be so oppressive, and I find myself craving the warmth of longer days. Spring cannot come soon enough. It is coming. I can feel it, can't I? Not much longer now. Please, not much longer. Though I have never cared for the short days of winter, this year it seems somehow worse. Besides, with not enough time in the day to absorb the sunshine and light, the dark seems stifling, and sometimes I think I cannot breathe. I am beginning to long for the light even more than my next meal. I cannot ever remember feeling quite this way before. Perhaps it is just all the time inside. How I long to get out and wander again, no particular place to go, sleeping under the stars. I never imagined being the master of Bag End would carry so much responsibility and feel like such a burden. Bilbo carried it so well. How I miss the dear old hobbit.