Tramping Across the Downs (Day 24)

And our hobbits are on their way once more! But “the distances had now all become hazy and deceptive.” They passed no trees, only hill upon hills for miles.

Camera: Kodak Brownie Jr. Six-20 (1940s) || FujiChrome Provia RDP II (expired 10/97 - xpro)

Camera: Kodak Brownie Jr. Six-20 (1940s) || FujiChrome Provia RDP II (expired 10/97 – xpro)

Thoughts on the Passage – Book I, Chapter 9 (p136, 50th Anniv. Ed.)
From having almost too much to write about, I’m suddenly faced with a paragraph about land and nothing else. This is such a fascinating project in that respect. While I must have read Chapter 8 about eight times (still, no doubt, missing important things), I could read this paragraph just as much. If you’re interested in which one I’m talking about and you don’t have the 50th Anniversary Edition, it’s the one that starts with “Their way wound along the floor of the hollow….”

Basically, Tolkien describes a rolling, almost bubbly land. To me, it sounds like some parts of norther Arkansas where the hills are like bubbles. Eastern Ohio is like this in some places. I absolutely love it. Eastern Washington has similar landscape, but they’re actually ripples (seriously, they’re gigantic ripples from a series of floods 10,000ish years ago).

Tolkien talks of wind and ridges, and how hot the day became. When they could catch a glimpse of the Old Forest by looking west (to their left), they could see the rainwater evaporating.

When reading short passages like this, I’m always tempted to read too much into it. Take the last sentence of this one: “A shadow now lay round the edge of sight, a dark haze above which the upper sky was like a blue cap, hot and heavy.”

Am I supposed to be thinking about the darkness coming from Mordor? It seems a bit too early for that. He doesn’t explicitly tell in which direction they’re looking, though they’re walking mostly north, toward the East Road. But words like “shadow” and “dark haze” are ominous and hardly seem accidental.

About the Photo
Since I don’t have any photo that really rings true to this landscape, I picked the one that most closely matches. This is a line of glacier erratics in Douglas County, Washington. They were carried here by the glaciers of the last ice age. The hills, though it’s difficult to see here, are somewhat bubbly, though not nearly as much as the Downs over which Frodo and company are walking.

Thoughts on the Exercising
Only four miles today, but it’s Friday and why not? It was nice to wrap up early. Worked on the heart rate, but really, I need a heart rate monitor. Then I’d also get a feel for how many calories I’m burning. I suppose that’s important for something.

Also, I’ve stopped tagging my posts with anything having to do with fitness. It was ridiculous how much spam I was getting from that. I realize that fitness is big business, but big business is fairly nauseating.


  • Miles today: 4
  • Miles thus far: 110
    • 25 miles to Bree
    • 104 miles to Weathertop
    • 350 miles to Rivendell
    • 1,669 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place: Still on the way to the Barrow-downs! (map)

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