Topic: "San Juan de Capistrano"
When travel is required, Frodo does his absolute best to soak in a little local color, or at least absorb some regional distinctiveness. The suburban nature of greater Phoenix always makes Frodo think of the Netherlands, which has been similarly re-claimed from the clutches of Mother Nature. Frodo is particularly taken with the flora and the fauna which seem more resilient, and hence sometimes prettier, because of the contrast to the setting itself. Not too terribly far away, on the California coast, sits the old mission at Capistrano, where scruffy little swallows have been immortalized in pre-Frodo balladry. The annual return, at this time of year, is part of a festival which now, unfortunately, serves little purpose.
For years the number of swallows returning to Capistrano has been in serious decline. The development of critically-important strip shopping centers, and overpriced homes has disturbed the balances which drew the few birds who appeared to the once ideal clime. Those who did appear in the area this year chose to nest under the bridges of Interstate 5, or in nondescript commercial eaves far from the idyllic setting of the old mission. Once again, it seems, man has found that his own commercial interests supercede the romance, if not the reason, for a tune that haunts anyone whose memories drift back before the second of the Great Wars. Why, then, go at all?
Frodo last walked the grassy fields outside the old mission when first he cast his eyes upon the ocean pacific. Even in these days, the wind still whips blue and the smell of salt would excite Captain Gregg or Long John Silver. Frodo thought of the day his father stood there with him, and together they wondered how the birds found their way back year-after-year, to the same spot. His father had no answers, but he left Frodo with the question.
That was good enough.