by Queen of Gondor

Through a small opening in the overcast sky, a glimpse of sunlight could be seen trying to break it’s way through the cloudy barrier. It was late afternoon, and not a sound could be heard. The small nesting birds were gone for the time being, having been pushed out when the cold weather came to claim it’s territory over their nests. The fields were empty, except for now and then when a farmer or child would wander through, having been harvested some months before, there was no more point in visiting the empty fields. There were no summer vegetables or wheat or barley to be looked after, and no grass to be cut down shorter. It was winter, cold, grey, and almost miserable for those who did not try to make the best of it.

It was more miserable this year though. The snow had not fallen per its usual manner, and instead of snow on the gardens, fields, and woods, was the brown decaying grass, that had died at the first touch of winter that had come two weeks prior. Everyone’s spirits were down, and instead of sitting inside trying to feel cosy with a blazing fire, they were staring out their windows, waiting to see if a snowflake would fall. A perfect flake, one that you could stick your arm out under and have it fall on you, and you could actually see the delicate design. Such a flake was yearned for, desired, wanted, needed. What was this time of year without a great heap of snow outside that invited you inside to be warm with hot tea and biscuits?

Frodo sat within Bag End, he too staring out the window in hopes of seeing that first flake. He had been sitting there all morning, looking intently out the window, wondering, hoping, that maybe, just maybe if he looked out their long enough, and wished hard enough, it would snow. His thoughtful plan had encountered nothing yet, and his spirits were lessening by the minute. Bilbo, too, wished that it would snow, but not nearly as much as his young cousin. He had watched him sadly every now and then, offered him some food and drink, and tried to coax him out of staring out the window on constant watch. He sighed deeply, and turned to go into his study.

Upon his desk sat a pile of papers neatly placed. They were all inkless, as he had already written his Yule letters and other letters of business, and there was nothing more to do. He sat down and sat his cup of tea and plate of biscuits beside his papers. He began tapping his fingers incessantly trying to invent some idea to make Frodo feel better. “He misses everything associated with his precious snow…” He said to himself, “…the colours, the warmth, the lights…” He stopped. “The colours!” The idea had come suddenly, but it was certainly worth a try. He opened his desk drawer and began searching for something, but closed it soon when he realised it was not there. He moved to the cupboard and looked under his heap of useless findings and odd treasures. “Aha!” He smiled as he brought a pile of festive coloured papers from beneath and old carved design he had found in the woods on one of his travels. He moved to his desk and got a piece of parchment and dipped his quill into the ink pot. His ideas were drafted, on the parchment, blue prints for his ideas, and slowly, after some time of drawing, he began the task of folding and cutting the paper.

Frodo still stared out the window, the sky was getting darker but the clouds remained. That perfect snowflake he was hoping for had still not come. “It’s a useless fancy.” he thought. Just as he turned his head from the window he noticed Bilbo plodding around in the garden, a candle in his hand and a sack of…something…in the other. He turned his gaze back to the window, but now he was interested in what Bilbo was doing out in the darkness. He thought it best not to bother the old fellow in whatever he was doing, so he just watched. It was too dark to really see what he was doing. After some minutes, Frodo turned away to prepare dinner.

After chopping some vegetables and beef, he concocted a thick broth and left it to simmer. He stopped and looked on the wall of the kitchen. Coloured lights were dancing there, creating beautiful patterns and colours. He turned around and looked outside, and he finally knew what Bilbo had been doing.

He walked out the front door, and down the pathway a few steps, then he turned around and looked back at Bag End. His eyes widened and a glow came to his dismal face. There, hanging down all along the roof were different shaped lanterns, all different colours, and each containing a single candle. He smiled as he thought about how much Bilbo must really care for him to do such an enormous amount of work.

And there, as Frodo stood simply staring at the beautiful lanterns, with his spirits returning, a single snowflake swirled down from the dark sky and landed upon his shirt. It’s perfect pattern displayed so neatly as if handcrafted.

Bilbo smiled as he watched the young boy outside watching the lights, and standing as a symphony of perfect snowflakes fell to the ground to create an even more prefect night.