Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


     Merry looked out in wonder upon this strange country, of which he had heard many tales upon their long road.  It was a skyless world, in which his eye, through dim gulfs of shadowy air, saw only ever-mounting slopes, great walls of stone behind great walls, and frowning precipices wreathed with mist.  He sat for a moment half dreaming, listening to the noise of water, the whisper of dark trees, the crack of stone, and the vast waiting silence that brooded behind all sound.  He loved mountains, or he had loved the thought of them marching on the edge of stories brought from far away; but now he was borne down by the insupportable weight of Middle-earth.  He longed to shut out the immensity in a quiet room by a fire.

     -- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter III:  'The Muster of Rohan'

Wassail, friends.  --  C.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

'He went alone to look in Mirror mere.'

     They rose and looked about them.  Northward the dale ran up into a glen of shadows between two great arms of the mountains, above which three white peaks were shining:  Celebdil, Fanuidhol, Caradhras, the Mountains of Moria.  At the head of the glen a torrent flowed like a white lace over an endless ladder of short falls, and a mist of foam hung in the air about the mountains' feet.

     'Yonder is the Dimrill Stair,' said Aragorn, pointing to the falls.  'Down the deep-cloven way that climbs beside the torrent we should have come, if fortune had been kinder.'

     'Or Caradhras less cruel,' said Gimli.  'There he stands smiling in the sun!'  He shook his fist at the furthest of the snow-capped peaks and turned away.

     To the east the outflung arm of the mountains marched to a sudden end, and far lands could be descried beyond them, wide and vague.  To the south the Misty Mountains receded endlessly as far as sight could reach.  Less than a mile away, and a little below them, for they still stood high up on the west side of the dale, there lay a mere.  It was long and oval, shaped like a great spear-head thrust deep into the northern glen; but its southern end was beyond the shadows under the sunlit sky.  Yet its waters were dark:  a deep blue like clear evening sky seen from a lamp-lit room.  Its face was still and unruffled.  About it lay a smooth sward, shelving down on all sides to its bare unbroken rim.

     'There lies Mirrormere, deep Kheled-zaram!' said Gimli sadly.  'I remember that he said:  "May you have joy of the sight!  But we cannot linger there."  Now long shall I journey ere I have joy again.  It is I that must hasten away, and he that must remain.'

     -- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring:  Book Two, Chapter VI:  "Lothlorien"

Wassail, my friends.  -- C.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


     "The Forostar was the least fertile part; stony, with few trees, save that on the westward slopes of the high heather-covered moors there were woods of fir and larch.  Towards the North Cape the land rose to rocky heights, and there great Sorontil rose sheer from the sea in tremendous cliffs.  Here was the abode of many eagles; and in this region Tar-Meneldur Elentirmo built a tall tower, from which he could observe the motions of the stars."

     -- J.R.R. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales, Part Two:  The Second Age:  'A Description of Numenor'

Wassail, friends. -- C.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I caught four surveyors out along our property line last Friday.  They were not particularly friendly.  When I asked them what they were doing, they only replied that they were performing an "easement" for the Headrick Sign Company.  The result of their efforts is a corridor hacked through my neighbor's bamboo mini-forest and some neon-pink ribbon and paint along my back border.  Adding to my worries is new-found knowledge that the empty house behind ours is a foreclosure, making the eastern edge of our Angle -- the little strip of land "Across the Water" (our creek) -- vulnerable to forays of this kind.

Surveyors are never a good sign.  Their associated chain of events goes like this:  first, the survey; then, some kind of "legal" notification to the target, which means that the latter must inevitably get the hell out; then chainsaws remove the large old trees; then bulldozers push off any remaining brush, structures, and topsoil, leaving a gaping hole in the earth; the hole is filled by truckload after truckload of a sterile medium, usually red clay; sewer and gas lines are installed; the area is covered in concrete; and finally, the intended structure rears its head, the result of all this so-called economic "growth." 

It is not Growth.  It is Death. 

I fear the Shadow grows on my borders.

Wassail. -- C.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Good Things

Just finished a 6-day work week. Got the store through the busiest week of the year, mostly intact. Looks like I'll get to keep my job there a little while longer.

Got a little work done on the poultry yard today. It is nearly finished. Hopefully I'll be able to allow the flock out to graze; it'll be good for them, since the yard's been lying fallow for well over a year now.

Worked with Belle on her bike-riding some. It's early for her to learn without training wheels -- at least, everyone else says so -- but she's coming along. Very tiring for me, though, running alongside or behind her all the time. Got to ride my new electric blue Schwinn today... a wonderful feeling. Really takes me back to when a bicycle meant real freedom. Thinking about naming it Ringil.

Bought some more silver on the 'Bay today, three beautiful Morgan silver dollars. I can't wait to see how silver performs in the coming weeks... that, and crude oil. Should be most interesting!

Got to get some more topsoil into the garden soon, and the cow manure as well. April will be here before I know it. I may start my tomatoes early, in the sunroom.

Glad the holidays are over. They were good for me and mine, but I'd almost forgotten how much I love our regular routine.

Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"