Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grey Havens

White was that ship and long was it a-building, and long it awaited the end of which Cirdan had spoken. But when all these things were done, and the Heir of Isildur had taken up the lordship of Men, and the dominion of the West had passed to him, then it was made plain that the power of the Three Rings also was ended, and to the Firstborn the world grew old and grey. In that time the last of the Noldor set sail from the Havens and left Middle-earth for ever. And latest of all the Keepers of the Three Rings rode to the sea, and Master Elrond took there the ship that Cirdan had made ready. In the twilight of autumn it sailed out of Mithlond, until the seas of the Bent World fell away beneath it, and the winds of the round sky troubled it no more, and borne upon the high airs above the mists of the world it passed into the Ancient West, and an end was come for the Eldar of story and of song.

- Ultimate paragraph of The Silmarillion (page 366 of my Del Rey paperback edition)

How bittersweet an ending! Triumph, hope, a new day – and yet, a residual lingering of despondency, mirthless, moody, and mournful. Melancholy and the infinite sadness!

It is a testament to the perceptive genius of Tolkien how such writing as this finds analogs in our daily existence. I’ve blogged at length (from material read standing on the shoulders of those giants who write it) on the inherent comprehensivenes of Catholicism in The Lord of the Rings. The above is but one of innumerable examples.

Analog? you ask. Analog? Yes. Analagous to many things, thing I’ve experienced and things I will experience. Rebirth with a loss of innocence. Particularly, the above conclusion speaks to me of late summer days, lengthening shadows, cooling winds, time for play being over and time for school – new schools – to begin in earnest. I also sense a foretaste of death, of the greatest journey we all will be called to take, one by one, something feared yet not-to-be-feared, and my only desire is to get through Tolkien at least one or two times more before I am called.

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