Samwise, Gardener

by jan-u-wine

Ladyhawk and I were talking yesterday  about the angsty-ness of a certain hobbit.  And I got to thinking  on how Sam was of such a practical nature.  Would he not,  eventually, have become tired of what might have seemed to him  something that just should have been "gotten over"?  And I told  hery I would write a comic piece on this theme.  Well, in the writing, Samwise corrected my point of view on the matter.  As  always, Sam was  right.....
Samwise Gamgee was a gardener, and no mistake.  And it weren't  just an avocation to him, no, not a mere handing-down, from  son-to-son-to-son, of a dawn-to-dusk set of responsibilities.
More like a calling, it was, as much a part of him as sun-tousled hair, river-deep green-gold eyes, and square-broad fingers.

Of all the things that Sam knew, knew without a concious thought, he  knew the soil that  beat like a heart beneath his bare feet  best.  The smell of it, rich and dark, like the very marrow-meat  of the earth, the feel of it, heavy and fine......even the taste of it,  on the odd occassion he partook (usually for the roses' sake) of the  merest moist pinch....
Sam knew, too, how best to serve that  which he cared for:  when to plant, when to prune, when and how  and how much, especially,  to water....

There were even  those under his care which preferred the attentions of the moon to  those of His bright counterpart.  Those, Sam knew best of all.
And of these, of one in particular,  Samwise at  last despaired.
For this one did not grow, or, in truth, grew no better.
Sam watched him with his careful gardener's eyes, watched him   take no part in the glad sunlight, watched him stand silent and  other-wordly in the shadows of the Hill.  
 A  gentled light lingered about Frodo,  almost as if it were an  answer to the diadems which shone above.   And as the days  and months since their return passed, the light grew ever brighter, and  Frodo further and further away.  It was a rarity, now, for him  to  lift a pint at the Dragon, or even distract himself with the  company of the Captains.
 Sam could not think when  he'd last heard his master laugh.  Thank the gracious Lady, he was  spared the sound (though not the knowledge ) of Frodo's tears.
 It made him angry, somehow, in his stubborn gardener's heart.  He  had known, with a surety, that he had only to get Frodo home, only had to plant him safely  again in the welcome earth of the Shire,  and all would be well.
 It was the single instance, in a lifetime shaped by the care and consideration of the needs of those given into his charge,  that Sam was wrong.
Wrong, when it most counted to be right.
He began to avoid Frodo.  It was easy enough, really, for Frodo  himself was rarely about when Sam came up the Hill to care for the  gardens, preferring the shuttered half-dark of his bed-chamber during  the day, and working in the study until ink'd night gave over to  orange-pinked dawn.  Even so, it had been a rare day, indeed, that  Sam did not look in, if only for a moment, on the Master.
Frodo, of course, noticed. Oh, his larder was stocked, right enough, and  the fires in the smial laid and tended.  The gardens had never  been so fine. Blue roses (the first of their kind in the Four  Farthings) shone like silver under the thin disc of the moon, and   the weave of the fence was twined with forget-me-nots. But the worker of these wonders remained hidden.
Soon, there were  notes left upon the plank in the kitchen, every-day-use parchment  scribed in Frodo's precise hand. And these directives Samwise did not  ignore, only their lonely implications.
Sam took to  visiting the Dragon, himself, of an evening.  Most nights, a  solitary ale and his old pipe kept him company.  And his  thoughts.  Always, his thoughts of what he should have done, might  have done, still might do.....
all his thoughts, mind turning like a windlass in a blind wind......
And so it was that he did not take note of the silence which fell like  a stone into the familiar brawl of the common-room (in later years, he  would recall, with a pain born of loss, that it was a Mersday* in  Halimath, and not long off of the Masters' birthday). Silence, and a  matter-of-fact falling-back of the folk knotted about him.
Almost an Age, it seemed, since  he'd heard a note of  gladness in that voice, almost a long, lost lifetime since they'd  shared something so ordinarily wonderful as the dark bitterness of a  labourer's brew.....
almost enough,  the half-smile that was as good as a morning of poured-gold sunshine to Sam.
Sometimes, he thought, still sitting in silence (a good silence, this,  a silence of friends who need not say anything, for all is spoken in  and by their silence)....
sometimes, one gardens best by gardening not at all.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
A postscript from the gardenee:
Full-wise, he was, my  Sam, make no mistake.
he never
  *Hobbits used the same seven-day week as the Dúnedain, who  had in turn adopted the six-day week of the Elves but supplemented  it with a day dedicated to the sea (Mersday)
A Rose for the Master