Sunday, June 27, 2010

In the House of Tom Bombadil

Well, this post will have relatively little to do with my work. I will say that a group of students was here. Very good people, and it was cool to see them. It was funny when their leader accidentally (this was after owning up to speaking very bad Spanish) told all 300 of the boys in Ciudad that they were very tasty.

As the sky becomes grayer and grayer here, the rare day of sunshine becomes all the more meaningful. The drudgery breaks when the sun cracks through the clouds blanketing the troposphere and said gray slinks to the confines of the horizon while the sun enjoys its brief victory over the smog and we poor citizens rejoice in its rays. Slight exaggeration. Regardless, it's an exponentially more joyous day when the sun can break through and reveal the green hills beyond the hills turned brown from natural sand and the overabundance of houses, huts, and cardboard boxes lining it, when the green becomes more green in the golden contrast, when the beach is clear and the rocks become something less gloomy, when birds' songs sound joyful instead of the routine, "I'm a bird, so I need to chirp" warbling.

On days like these, and on those rare, rare occasions I've been given to venture outside Lima (though less rare than what the majority of LimeƱans gets), I've taken a breath and felt euphoria fill my lungs. In the instances outside of Lima, I can't attribute that to carbon monoxide poisoning. Within the city confines, it's a possibility. Regardless, a wild, fierce joy grips me when the sun comes out, when nature is present. It's the joy that makes you sing any song that comes to your mind, that permits your mind to be soaring with the condor though your feet clumsily trudge up the mountain, that makes you tear up the canyon even if false prudence urgently shrieks that your quadriceps will be unhappy in the morning. It's the joy that gives way to peace, to a sublime kind of appreciation and quiet smile in the midst of greenery and majesty, to joyfully opening your arms to embrace the sky and falling into a patch of green grass, to watch the sun set the sky on fire as it sets with a warmth within you though the temperature is urging you to shiver.

I have walked in the forests to reflect in the beauty that the shade of the green canopy can offer, I have touched the tree trunks just to remember the feeling of bark on my skin, have jumped into cold springs to get the shock of the freeze over with, and it's not my song that fills my lungs and my heart and spirit, but that of Tom Bombadil, or the natural force that he personified, and I have heard him singing and striding in the forest with the rustling of the underbrush keeping time and the whole of creation singing along. Perhaps his house is not the highest good in the world, but to let it be destroyed or to destroy it is to kill the song that's waiting to burst forth from without and within us, is to destroy the harmony to give more meaning and beauty and sense to our own songs.