Twenty-second day back in the Shire: My old journal. To think it's still here, after all this time. How like Sam to keep it, not even knowing if either of us would ever look for it again.
Well now that I have penin hand, and the paper before me, I seem to not know what to say. What could be worth writing down now?
I've read back some. I see I've forgotten a lot of the silly little things we used to do, Sam and me, and Pippin and Merry. And even Bilbo, when he was in the mood to put up with us! I am so glad I recorded all those things, reading them over brings back those wonderful memories. As we traveled back here to the Shire sometimes I was sure I would never smile at anything again. Dear Sam, he always knew when those moods overtook me and by now has learned to leave me to myself for a while, but not too long. He seems to come up to me just when I start feeling coldest. Even now, it strikes me that I'm writing at evening twilight, when so often I used to write in the bright sunshine, in a tree or the garden. I didn't feel comfortable about writing until now. For all the years and years I kept a journal, I felt uncomfortable now.
Well Sam says not to dwell on what can't be undone, so I shall put those thoughts aside. The evening is a mild one, I'm leaving the windows open at least for a time. The birds are singing their sunset-songs, soon they'll be snuggled up against each other fast asleep. I remember the first week I was back, I couldn't believe how comfortable it was to wrap up in the blankets! A certain amount of familiarity can be good.
Today I received letters from various kin, telling about assorted adventures good and bad that they have had while I have not been home. They seemed to read more like journals themselves, than letters. I suppose they are meant to make me feel included, to bring me up to date on what has been happening here at home. I suppose most would feel closer to their kin after reading this sort of thing, but it feels strange to me. As if I should want or need to know all about relatives I have not seen for half my life, just because I have been elsewhere. Perhaps these folk are truly glad to hear I am home again. Truthfully, I cannot remember most of their faces, and that has been the case for several years! I have been thinking I will write back. If they remember me well enough to write and tell me all these things, I at least owe them a response.
It is just about completely dark outside now. I hear familiar sounds coming from the kitchen and these are comforting. What a delight to sit here peacefully and record thoughts and impressions, and read some from old times. How many things have changed! Still, many things are also the same, in some ways. I've taken short walks round the house and hill and been glad to see that my favorite trees seem to still be standing. There is one that I noticed has lost some limbs. Merry laughed when I mentioned it, and said How can you tell? These trees are older than all of us together and have more limbs than I have hairs on my head! Sam told him to look up, that there was more sunlight coming through. They argued about it, being quite silly of course, and I admit they did make me laugh. Sometimes I still wonder if Merry, or Pippin for that matter, will ever grow up…but that is exactly what I love about them.
More letters yesterday and today! Some of what I read is quite amusing, what my close and distant kin have been up to. Still some of the same disagreements over whose animals trampled whose garden…. Who let the ponies out of the barn…. Whose children urged others to play in the rainwater and get dirty. A few folks have come by the house, but Sam always tells them to come back another time. I finally told him to go on and get some air and some exercise, that I would be fine by myself.
And so I have made a pot of tea and buttered some bread. I have been inside the house for most of the day myself, perhaps I shouldn't have sent Sam out. I hope I wasn't too harsh with him. I fear he has forgotten all about himself in trying to ease my way! But I can make tea and butter bread so perhaps that will convince him that I really can do for myself.
Sam was out and about all day. He's been getting news from various parts of the Shire about the condition of villages and towns and parks. It has him quite upset. We had some visitors today and he immediately forgot to ask them to come back some other day; they asked if he'd heard about the Southfarthing. I won't repeat here what they said…I doubt I shall forget it anyway. We had both hoped that somehow, things would be peaceful once we settled down but of course that cannot be.
I am considering asking Gandalf if there is anything he can do. Rosie Cotton came by today and missed Sam by less than half an hour, so she decided to stay and talk. I enjoy her company; at least someone who is not tripping over their feet trying to accommodate me! She did offer to get me anything I might like, but I think that is her generous nature rather than a sense of duty toward the Ringbearer. Once we began discussing the Shire, and Sam, she revealed such concern for how he is affected by the damage all round. Hobbits are a determined lot but I fear this may be more than they realize.
I think I envy Sam for having Rosie. Clearly there is nothing one would not do for the other. I have my share of friendships and I hope never to lose them, but how very different it is to see her smile, and how special.
Sam, Merry, Pippin and I have made a trip to the Southfarthing. All of us are heartbroken by some of the sights we have passed along the way. We have stopped in Oakleaf for now. Sam has gotten a grand idea: he will use Galadriel's Gift to help replant the Shire. I cannot imagine quite how this will be accomplished, seeing how much work must be done in this area alone. The local folk seem caught up in the plan now, so perhaps there is hope yet.
I have not seen much of my friends today. It is not as quiet here as it was back home, there is much moving about and building, and even some tearing down. The innkeeper has insisted that starting and helping to continue the rebuilding is payment enough, and would not take anything I offered. This makes me uncomfortable. Especially in such times everyone needs to make a living. I wonder if he would be so emphatic if I were not here. Merry tells me I am making a fuss where no one else would, that the gesture is heartfelt and that I should not be so suspicious. Truthfully, I am worried that even now I will see wraiths in innocent shadows. Sleeping has not always been easy.
Well someone will be along soon alerting me to supper; the four of us have taken to eating together in the common room. We are not usually left alone but I am enjoying this. Everyone gets caught up in plans for new gardens and markets, new roads and all sorts of new things. Even though our immediate families did not often come this far South, folks here are very welcoming to the four of us. I think I will, in fact, go on to "our" table and wait.