Day 3 – Of Maps and Birch Beer

Camera: Mamiya C3 | Film: Film: FujiChrome Provia 100F (xpro)

Camera: Mamiya C3 | Film: FujiChrome Provia 100F (xpro)

Though it’s my third day at this little adventure, our hobbits are just now ending their first. The miles that I covered today are covered in only a paragraph in the book. After a few hours’ rest, they walked, still avoiding roads, through a grove of birches, stopped again to eat “a very frugal supper (for hobbits),” and then struck another road, which they crossed. As they walked through the dark, they hummed and eventually began to sing.

Thoughts on the Passage – p71 (of the 50th Anniversary Edition)
It’s only a paragraph, but I thought of so much to say. First, I’m very happy to learn that Middle-Earth had at least some birch trees. I trust that the hobbits, being enterprising, discovered birch beer. Maybe they even invented it (it’s a much better claim to fame than inventing the game of golf, I’d wager).

Tolkien gives us so many place names and I’ve yet to find a good map that covers them. Our hobbits were moving apart from the roads, but mostly paralleling The Water, which ran east toward the Brandywine River. After crossing the main road to the Brandywine Bridge, they struck another road which led to Woodhall, Stock and the Bucklebury Ferry (which is south/downriver from the bridge). Woodhall is actually just off this road.

These aren’t really my thoughts, per se, but I am reminded again and again, just in this short paragraph how detailed Tolkien’s world was. The larger picture didn’t involve The Shire at all, let alone some two horse town on an off road from an off road to Bywater. It’s ridiculously wonderful.

On that, the “Woody-End” mentioned in the same paragraph is described as “a wild corner of the Eastfarthing.” The Shire was divided into four farthings (“farthing” is older English for quarter). I found this map, which seems to be good, but the resolution on it makes he words incredibly hard to read.

Today’s Quote
“Thin-clad birches, swaying in a light wind above their heads, made a black net against the pale sky.”

On the Exercising
Today was much better than yesterday. Mostly because I only did four miles. I was really hurting after yesterday’s, so I decided to tone it down a bit. I’m trying to work up to an average of five miles each day, but also, I don’t want to overdo it. Also, also, I don’t want to be exercising simply so I can eat more cookies. That said, I’m going to have a cookie now.

miles today: 4
miles thus far: 14 (444 miles to Rivendell – 1,765 to Mt. Doom)
stopping place: In a deeply cloven track between tall trees – a ways after crossing the Stock Road.

*Also, happy birthday, Tolkien!