I have just been re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and tonight I came to the account of the banquet given by Elrond in Rivendell to celebrate Frodo’s recovery from the knife-wound he suffered at the hand of the Black Riders at weather-top. There is a marvelous description of Elrond seated at the head of the table with Glorfindel seated on his right and Gandalf on his left in places of honor. And under a canopy, Arwen Undomiel. It is achingly beautiful.
In comes Strider, also called Aragorn and hailed as the Dunadan by Frodo’s uncle Bilbo who has retired to Rivendell. Bilbo and Aragorn retreat to a corner where they put their heads together over a new song which Bilbo has written. And then, Frodo hears him singing it. When I was younger, I tended to race through the poetry in order to get to the next section of narrative that moved the story along. Tonight, I savored the poetry.
And I pondered what a glorious way to spend an evening: at a banquet of elves with the wise Gandalf and the deep and brave Aragorn. It touches a deep longing.
I can’t believe how blessed I am to have found a calling where I am expected to read such great literature every year and guide young students through it, many of them reading it for the first time.
And I long for the banquet feast…