In His Element

by Mrs. Frodo



Dancing along the shoreline to the music of the waves, he turns an occasional cartwheel just for the thrill of spinning. A planned tumble, and he is nestled on the warm sand, breathing hard and deep. The salt air is as satisfying as wine. He fills up his lungs with it, then bursts into ecstatic song. His clear, nimble voice blends with the sea-sounds, the crying of gulls and the calm, rhythmic tumbling of the waves.

No ship is looked for today, so he is by himself. But, in time, the ship will certainly come.

Flopping onto his belly, he traces in the sand a poem he has thought up for Estë. One day soon he will write it out in his lovely, flowing script. He has the freedom of these lands; he will deliver the poem himself, eyes averted but shining.

Since his arrival he has learned every nuanced shade of all the tongues spoken here. He can converse with anyone––even Them!––without feeling awkward. Someday the one he awaits will be able to do the same, if he’d like.... The thought prompts a wide grin. He knows better. His dearest friend will take one look at the gardens, the unknown flowers and fruits and herbs and towering trees, and there will go whatever time he might have spent learning Quenya.

...Rising to brush himself off, he sees a little starfish on the sand.

The tide will soon gather it up, but empathy gets the better of him. He would rather see an animal in its element. In his small, gentle hands it gleams coral-pink as the ship of Arien gliding into port on a bank of iridescent clouds. Speaking softly to it he wades waist-deep into the foam. There is no danger here, no threat of riptides: as does every other element of these blessed shores, the ocean knows and loves him.

The starfish clings for a moment to his skin. He strokes it, blesses it, opens his hand wide. It lets go, cartwheeling home through the long-healed gap in his fingers.