Topic: "Ja, Wir Konnen."
"There are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our intentions."--US Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), 1600 hours, July 24th, 2008, Berlin, Germany (Unter den Linden aus der Tiergarten).
Frodo and his friend walked from the Brandenburg Gate down the street toward the Zoo. The trees which line the street are all the same type, and the pedestrian passes under them along the way. It is about a mile, and the walk is as peaceful and restorative as is any big city street, anywhere within the scope of the Hobbit and his travels. In German, the Zoo is an "animal garden," and Frodo is forced to admit that the real animal that night was the the hormone-driven young Hobbit seeking to add his friend as a conquest.
What it was that made him take note of the grotesque creature laying at the bottom of that pool, just beyond the entrance to the Zoo, remains a mystery to this day. In any event, Frodo and his friend noted that the old hippopotamus alone, among all the creatures therein, survived the Allied bombings of Berlin in 1944 and 1945. Perhaps, as he was doing at that very moment, he had just taken a big ole breath and decided that being at the bottom of his pool was preferable to any recognition of the world which had incarcerated him. Perhaps, also, when he later arose for air he noted that staying in his pool was a wiser course of action than that chosen by any other creature in the vicinity. It also meant that he was totally alone.
Frodo and his friend pondered the deeper meaning of life, and Frodo became sidetracked from his original goal. He has often regretted the loss of that possibility.
Frodo knows that the old hippopotamus has long ago naturally followed after his fellow inhabitants of the Berlin Tiergarten. Frodo couldn't help but wish that he had been in Berlin today, listening. Had he been there, Frodo would have stood by the pool of the hippopotamus, and tried to hold his breath as long as possible. It would have reminded him of what he learned in that spot, a long time ago, that when you come up for air, you had better be ready to take on the world all by yourself.