Walking Away - Lothuial's Tale
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!
Home is behind, the world ahead
And there are many paths to tread...
I am old, even by Elven standards. I didn't awaken at Cuiviénen, but my parents did and the Hunter was a dark, warning tale that was told to me while we wandered away from those fabled shores into the welcoming trees. When the Shining One came, offering to escort those who desired to the new land across the sea, I refused the call. My parents accepted and walked away from me. I never saw them again.
Today I feel old, and every year I have lived here in what is now called Middle-earth seems impressed on my body and within my mind. I scan my surroundings carefully. Have I remembered to pack everything I might need? I will be leaving my glade forever so I must be sure.
The small pile of my clothing and accessories lies near my covered fire pit. I could easily carry all of my possessions, but the King has offered me space in one of the wagons. This generosity will allow me to take both of my hand drums and my offering bowl. He is kind and I am grateful. My apprentice is waiting and will load everything into the wagon for me. I turn away from him walking to the ones who have sheltered me for more than one hundred years; it is time to say farewell to the trees, the companions of my long life.
I gently stroked up the bark of a nearby oak and then placed both of my hands against it. I felt its slow heartbeat, deep roots and the joy it is feeling as the sun begins to hit its leaves. I have watched this forest mature. The trees surrounding me now grew from fallen acorns many years ago. I watched the saplings grow, as I had watched their ancestors before them. As I wander the paths of memory reviewing my years under the protection of these sentinels, I think that even the trees have recognized the changes that happened within the Greenwood over time.
The colors of the foliage have shifted over time. When I first came to the forest of the Greenwood, we were responding to the forest’s invitation and joining in its Song. Leaves shone with the light yellow greens of early spring, and speech between the trees and the Singers was both eager and frequent. I was acknowledged as a Speaker and I settled amidst their protective embrace, calling other like spirits to join me. Over time Tribes developed within their thoughts, and the other Speakers and I joined together to help create a barrier against the dark forces that always hovered just over the horizon.
After the Tribes of the People had been established for many long-years, a King came to us from the west. He was called Oropher, but the Tribes named him Spirit of White Light. Evil continued to grow and he put out a call to our young ones to join him in battling darkness at the gates of evil. When he and so many others fell there to never rise again, Thranduil, our Golden One, took up his father's crown.
The foliage changed when they returned from their long battles, reflecting the concern of the trees. Their colors shifted into deep greens. The trees, the kings, and the Tribes all watched the Dark Power grow and spread into our lands from the western portion of the Greenwood. The forest's name was changed by many to reflect that darkness – Mirkwood was our new moniker.
It is now the end of Elven times and the beginning of the Times of Men. The trees have changed once more, losing their gleam and becoming the flat greens that I now see. The dells have lost their magic; the small pools have relinquished their healing properties. If the life of this forest was remaining here, I too would stay. But it has fled the oncoming of the second-born and nothing will be left in the trees for me to Speak with. I must leave.
Finally I am following the Shining One and walking in the footsteps of my parents. Why am I not filled with joy?