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Section XXIII-Winter's Failing Hold

Spring is peeking around the corner just enough that we've started a bit of wandering again, though not yet over night. The inns of the Shire are hospitable enough, but it's always nice to come home to the warmth and comfort of Bag End. Merry and Pippin came for another visit and this time brought along dear Fatty.

Fredegar Bolger is a good sturdy hobbit who doesn't have quite the wanderlust the rest of us do. Even with Sam being the homebody he is, he still craves a bit of adventure, particularly if it involves elves. Fatty prefers all things Shire. In truth, I think he rounds out our little band very nicely. Thinking of us that way, I sometimes wonder if we are perceived perhaps as a band of thieves. Merry and Pippin, I know have convinced Farmer Maggot of this. Someday, it is going to get them into trouble, well, more than usual anyway.

When we set out today we made quite the little party, the five of us. It won't be much longer and Sam will find himself far too busy in the garden and unable to join us for a while. We decided to take full advantage of the day and left immediately after an unseemly early breakfast. We would have second breakfast once we were well out of Hobbiton. Then, as the mood struck us, we would make our stops throughout the day.

We sang lively traveling songs as we walked along, secretly, or not so secretly, enjoying the slight, well a little more than slight, disturbance we caused. I smile to myself and imagine that the residents of Hobbiton certainly considered us thieves of their peace and quiet. I needed to laugh to ease the burden the winter months seemed to lay on my shoulders. After being locked up, so to speak, in the veritable quiet of Bag End, the singing and crisp air brought a sweet release of the knots I had not before realized were growing and twisting somewhere in the middle of my back. It wasn't long however, before our boisterous songs settled to tales and talk of the Shire.

We tramped along with no particular destination in mind. It was good simply to be out wandering. For the most part, winter has not yet released its hold on the Shire, but its grip is getting visibly weaker. Here and there are small green buds defying winter's persistence. Not much longer now and winter's paling grasp will be unceremoniously pushed aside by the color-filled presence of spring.