The sun warms my face, serenely escorting me from deepest slumber to gentle wakefulness. When was the last time I rested, free of frightening dreams? When was the last time I napped, without starting awake, wondering if orcs or other foul beasts were about? When was the last time I slept, so long in peace? When was it? Rivendell? The Shire?
The unexpected tantalizing breeze brushes my skin, ruffling the hair on my forehead, cooling and refreshing. It teases me with whispers of songs not yet written, waiting to be sung. Wait... a clear Elvish voice, faint and faraway, drifts over me; poetry in music, or is it music in poetry? Unawares, my sorrow finds some measure of solace in words altogether unfamiliar but one: Mithrandir...
Every breath softly fills me with the delicate scent of winter and spring, entirely incomparable to any winter or spring of my memories. And yet -- and yet it seems somehow pleasingly and comfortingly familiar, as though magically tinged with the merest hint of home.
I allow my eyes to flutter open. A luxury long forgotten, to lie here, as long as I wish, gazing up at the resplendent leaves of green, silver and gold as they joyously dance together in the tranquil sunlight streaming through the foliage.
It’s later than I first thought. No matter.
Shifting, ever so slightly, I feel the graceful tree against my back. It was born long before me, and it shall be here long after I am gone. Closing my eyes again, I sense its life seep through me, strong, soothing, enduring.
What pleasure, to hold perfectly still, not in fear of being noticed and so captured or killed, but only to drink in deeply of every sensation open to me, in this moment. Sight, sound, touch, for a time, unimpeded in my awareness of even the minutest details.
Sam stirs not far from me. My eyes wander to where he rests, then to Merry, Pippin, Gimli, Aragorn, Boromir, and even seemingly tireless Legolas. I remember Celeborn’s words, “Eight there are but nine there were set out from Rivendell... Where is Gandalf?” I push the question and the answer away, unwilling to allow it to intrude on this singular moment of stillness, between slumber and the waking world. Oh, to hold this solitary instant, untainted, unsullied, unmarred...
The Ring lies heavy against my breast. Each individual link in the chain, holding It about my neck, is noted. And yet, how is it the burden seems lighter, in some inexplicable way? In truth, a part of me cautions, it is not I who is stronger but the Elven magic of this place, which fetters the Ring’s power, restraining Its influence, proffering me a respite, though not for long, I fear. This thought too, I push away, unwilling to relinquish my enjoyment of the enchanting caress of morning in fair Lothlórien.