Topic: "Balance of Nature" (3)
Record low temperatures last night in the Shire, and even lower forecast for this evening, accompanied Frodo as he watched the white blooms of the azalea, in fell regalia, turn brown and fall to earth. Just a few short days ago, Frodo remarked about the excessive pollen levels resulting from everything bursting into bloom at virtually the same time. Tonight, there is no pollen count. The new growth on butterfly bushes, and Frodo's prized dwarf crested iris, are shriveled, and weeks away from rebirth. There is a lesson here.
Nature makes adjustments, or as Michael Crichton so prophetically wrote in "Jurassic Park," "Nature finds a way."
In March of 1993 Frodo and Lovey, the dog who changed Frodo forever, drove Frodo's ancient motorized pick-up to meet a man who was to deliver gravel for a refreshed driveway at the mountain retreat. The forecast was for snow; a sense of snickering amusement to the wayfarers who knew southern mountains better than anyone. After the delivery, and while the fire burned brightly, Frodo listened to the weatherman start talking about a convergence of moisture from one direction, and unseasonable cold temperatures from another. He used the term "storm of the century." Frodo looked at Lovey, and the two agreed that an early start for home in the morrow would be a wise course of action.
Two-and-a-half feet of snow prevented Frodo from even opening the door for Lovey to exit for relief that next morning. For three more days the companions shared responsibility for sweeping the snow off the roof of the abode, and helping stranded neighbors cut and remove over 400 fallen pine trees from the paths heading home to the Shire. When night time arrived, the two retreated together to re-start the fireplace, the only source of heat available at the time. Frodo was responsible for adding fuel to the fire, every hour, all night long. When finished, he would climb back under the blankets, shivering, hoping to avoid the development of some viral infection. Then, just as his feet began to warm, it was time to rise and again fuel the flames. There was an amount of anxiety in Frodo that night.
Soundlessly, Lovey rose from her spot next to the mattress Frodo had pulled up to the grate of the fireplace, and she nosed her way under the covers and laid across Frodo's frozen feet. All night long she brought her warm body, and fur coat, next to Frodo, sensing his distress. It must have been very uncomfortable for her. It may have delayed Frodo's passing for many years.
The next day there were robins splashing in the unfrozen lake. A neighbor in a shiny new canoe brought Frodo a bag of dog food. The National Guard made their way into the area and brought kerosene for the heaters of those who had kerosene heaters (Frodo now owns a super-colossal kerosene heater). All the while Lovey followed after Frodo. She had a responsibility, a job, and fulfilling her obligation to care for Frodo was the most important thing in her life.
Finally, the fallen trees were cleared, and Frodo felt that he could get the motorized pick-up to the main road, and return home to Sam, frantic, but not panicked, because telephone service existed straight-thru. Frodo and Lovey burst through the clogged back roads until the main road, cleared of all snow, was at hand. They were then able to turn south, toward home.
Frodo has been thinking about those nights, and he can almost feel that same warmth upon his chilly feet.
Mick, the Wonder Dog, adopted Son of Lovey, stands in the doorway. He's telling Frodo that there is a need to inspect the gardens of the Shire, to make sure that everything is as it should be. He needs to do his job.
"You taught him well," said Frodo.