I was gone all day yesterday on a hike that carried me through several small valleys into which I had never ventured.
In the foothills of one I found an abandoned old two-story house, probably late 19th century, now completely overgrown. Roots from trees that had grown right up to the house were destroying the foundation. A tree had fallen over the back porch. Animal droppings and scattered leaves littered the inside. And there were the remains of a New York Times from 1934 in one corner of the fireplace! Amazing how that has survived.
At some point someone else had been living there. A can of beans in the corner. An old cot.
It was never a large house by city standards, but out here it would have been a monstrosity of elegance and refinement. Why someone would have built a house like that in Ithilien is a mystery to me and that maybe that's why they abandoned it. It just wouldn't have fit. Perhaps some romantically inclined aristocrat in his failing years tried to make a go of it out here.
But who knows. Perhaps he did make a go of it with the best that was in him. Perhaps he didn't know, at first, what the house would feel like out here. But he built it. And building it, he lived in it. And living in it, he came to understand. And understanding, he made himself ready.
It's a beautiful house now.
A perfect fit.