Sometimes the journey gets tough.
Some days we just don’t have a lot left to put into the dream. It’s hard to put another foot down.
Some days it’s just time to sit down and breathe.
I like to call those days, Goldberry’s Washing Day
It’s a term I stole from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It comes from the early part of the story, when the four hobbit friends, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin have just escaped the dangers of the Old Forest and Old Man Willow, having been rescued—for the first time—by Tom Bombadil.
It’s unfortunate that Peter Jackson couldn’t squeeze this part of the story into the movies, but I suppose for reasons of pacing, he chose not to attempt it. For me, it’s an important part of the story, for many reasons. If you want to hear that argument, you can read my much earlier post, Bombadil and Goldberry: Mother Nature Laughs at Us.
The morning after the hobbits arrived at the home of Tom and Goldberry Bombadil, they awoke to the sound of rain pouring off of the roof and patting against the windows. It’s been like that here in St. Paul the last few days. The four hobbits had expected to get up early, eat breakfast, and hopefully Second Breakfast, and then reluctantly continue their journey to Bree, where they planned to meet with Gandalf.
Instead they awoke to the sound of heavy rain and the cheery voice of ole Tom Bombadil and his laughing nature,
“This is Goldberry’s washing day,” he said, ‘and her autumn-cleaning. Too wet for hobbit-folk – let them rest while they are able! It’s a good day for long tales, for questions and for answers, so Tom will start the talking.”
Goldberry, Tom’s wife, is very much associated with all things ‘water.’ She is very floaty and ethereal, whereas her husband, Tom, is more earthy and bouncy. How’s that for a vague description? Hell, if you want the real thing, go read Tolkien. He was and is a better writer than I am anyway. The point is that the rain–which Tom ascribed to his watery wife–gave the hobbits an excuse to spend one more day in the hospitality of the Bombadil residence, at the edge of the Old Forest, and to rest up for the next stage of their journey. It was a well deserved, and sorely needed rest.
Recharging the Batteries
I am, by nature, kind of a workaholic. I’m sure there are people in my life, or on the margins of it, that think the opposite of me: that I’m a stay-at-home-lazy dad type, a Mr. Mom–and not Michael Keaton at the end of the movie when he’s winning sack-races and getting the new job–but in the middle when he’s lounging around in the same flannel shirt he’s been wearing for a month, eating ice cream, getting fat, growing his beard out, letting the laundry, the dishes, and the house go to hell in a handbasket. I sometimes think that’s what other people think of me. I shouldn’t think that way, but I do. Come to think of it, my Guinness T-shirt isn’t much different than Mr. Keaton’s flannel shirt. But I’m not giving up my T-shirt. Fuck no. Anyway, I digress.
I am actually a workaholic.
A great deal of this is driven by the fact that I have not reached the financial success that I need to keep my head afloat. But I’m not here to talk about that today. I’m here just to say, that some days, I just need a Goldberry Washing Day, a day when I don’t have to do a whole lot of work. A day with at least a Second Breakfast, if not a Third, plus lunch, tea, and a few other meals. I’m gonna make an argument this morning, that here in Bag End, St. Paul, that we take one of those days. It’s been an insane week this week, and the last few. It’s very much time for Goldberry to do the washing. Maybe we’ll just do the laundry and some dusting, but I’m not lettin’ go of my Guinness shirt.
Maybe you need to take a Goldberry Washing Day in your hobbit hole?