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TLD Part 1 Chapter 12: After Too Long

 
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deer of the dawn
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:15 pm    Post subject: TLD Part 1 Chapter 12: After Too Long Reply with quote

After Too Long
So, after too long I finally post my dissection.
***
The chapter begins (as the previous one ends) in an explosion of light, which softens gradually to a human scale, but not before touching the various wonders it illuminates.
Quote:
The flare of power from the gem resembled a scream.

Quote:
…Jeremiah flailed his arms with Earthpower blazing in each hand.

Quote:
The krill’s shining glared like a crisis in her eyes.

Quote:
[Marhrtiir] wore a robe of samite so white and pure that it might have been woven of starlight.

Quote:
His familiar combative frown had become radiance. It had become eagerness. Reflecting the krill’s gem, he looked like wild magic cleansed of its extravagance and peril.


The wild energy of the opening paragraphs, with Ranyhyn exploding into the group before the fane, damps down to the tender sapling Caerwood-ur-Mahrtiir holds in his hand, root ball and all. It’s all that seems to ground Covenant’s confusion, for the chapter is told from his perspective and all he can do is curse in response to the wonders that burst in on him. Here we meet the Covenant that has been forming from the beginning: one whose spirit has been healed to the point of being able to recognize the humanity and need in others, and respond selflessly.
Quote:
He had the question ready; but he gritted his teeth against it. She needed something more from him. Something better.

But before he can formulate his response Linden’s attention is drawn to Jeremiah and the wounded Cabledarm. (We do have to note that those pesky grass stains are gone from Linden’s jeans!) Her healing of the Giant is ruthless; in spite of Linden’s cleansed exterior, her inner wounds still control her. She and Jeremiah are sorry for hurting each other by the choices they have made in order to not be useless. Covenant wonders whether he should take it personally…
Quote:
How often had he said, Don’t touch me?

(There’s a drinking game in there somewhere, if one were so inclined…) Wink

While Caerwood-ur-Mahrtiir sings his sapling into a tree before the fane, her attention wanders toward Stave and Branl, who holds Longwrath’s flamberge. She sees a threat in this and confronts him; but Covenant interprets her accusation as a cry for mercy.
Quote:
…Covenant seemed to hear her crying, I woke up the Worm! Is no one ever going to forgive me?

Covenant interprets Branl’s possession of the sword for her, informing her that the raver turiya has been rent.

Meanwhile, the Forestal keeps singing to his tree.

Stave steps in, asking for healing for his arm. Wut? Covenant isn’t the only one who has transformed. The effect on Linden is profound.
Quote:
A sigh of relief passed among the Giants. Jeremiah whispered, “Mom, Mom,” as if she made him proud.

Linden finds a release in healing Stave that Covenant sees as his opportunity to also cry for forgiveness. He confesses to killing Joan although he had sworn not to kill again.

The Forestal’s tree keeps getting shinier by the minute. Now its light outshines the krill, but without the harshness. An island of Andelain is beginning to surround them.

Covenant can finally tell Linden why he’s been all “Don’t touch me”. He is ashamed in part because of his necessary rejection of her so that she would do what she had to do. But now he also wants her to know that he did it out of his own brokenness. He wouldn’t have been able to do what he had to do, had they come together earlier. He was afraid. In one of the most poignant statements in the Chronicles, Covenant expresses his internal struggle by saying,
Quote:
What did he gain by being a leper if numbness did not dull the edges of his fears?

It’s now or never. Covenant removes the chain from his neck that holds Joan’s white gold ring.
Quote:
The clasp seemed to open by itself as if he had given a blessing. Attempts must be made—How else could he believe in anything?

His proposal is met with shock and even fear in the moment, but Caerwood’s song interposes itself—

Quote:
”It is my heart I give to you,
My blood and sap and bone and root.”

Apparently, the Forestal is the Barry White of the Land. Linden can’t resist Mahrtiir’s mojo…
Quote:
Yes.” That one word seemed to contain her whole heart.

I cried like a baby the first time I read this because after so much conflict and misunderstanding and issues between Linden and Covenant, they, and the reader, deserve this. It is a blessing. In the Dark, SRD pulls back the curtain and opens a window and lets sweet air in. In a preternatural, shiny bit of Andelain, white gold rings become a symbol of love and unity—after all the inner conflict and outer chaos they have caused. Their kiss causes wild magic to light up the night. The Giants cheer. A haruchai grins. They don’t give a rip.

After a wedding supper of aliantha, the rest of the party withdraw to the shelter of the fane, while Linden and Covenant get to enjoy the honeymoon suite that Caerwood has so graciously provided under the shelter of his magical tree. The Forestal himself vanishes into thin air. The camera discreety pans away….

***

Wild magic has dimmed and Linden and Thomas (as she now calls him, at his behest) lie on the grass in “soft radiance” from the Forestal’s tree. Their talk turns to Jeremiah; Linden is concerned that between the touch of Foul on his soul, the croyel, and Anele’s gift, and whatever else about Jeremiah’s messed-up past, -- she wants to understand him, but does not feel she has the right to question.

She asks him what changed him and they have the luxury of being able to recount the story of Covenant’s days apart from her. Then she asks what happened to his beard.

Ah, the beard. Throughout the Chronicles, Covenant’s beard expressed how he was feeling. He perversely insisted on shaving although it was dangerous for him, as a leper. When it grew it made him look wild and “prophetic” (think, Charlton Heston as Moses by the Red Sea shouting STAND STILL AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD!!!).
Quote:
Long ago, shaving had been a form of self-abnegation for him, a punitive discipline. He was glad to be rid of the necessity.

The “necessity” of self-abnegation and punitive discipline once controlled and defined Covenant. Now it’s gone forever. Thank God! It is hard to live with a prophet.

Leprosy, however, is still with him. His hands are more maimed than ever, but he still strokes Linden, reaches for her body and her soul through them. He wants to know (because she amazes him) what her story is. She painfully tells how Caerroil Wildwood sacrificed himself willingly (because he was tired of the deaths of trees) so that she and Caerwood ur-Mahrtiir and Hyn and Narunal could return via wild magic to Covenant, Jeremiah, and the Giants and haruchai. But the Howe’s death wail followed her. Covenant reassures her and for once, she does not resist reassurance.

(Rabbit trail: she has been different ever since she sewed the patch onto the Mahdoubt’s gown. Until then, her spirit was unable to accept grace in any form. Maybe it’s only my perception, but that was one of THE most important events in the Last Chronicles. Ok, back to the chapter at hand…)

A couple of nagging questions that readers may or may not have wrestled with are dealt with, since we are hanging out naked under a magical tree.
1. The issue of the grass stains comes up.
Quote:
”Oh my God. They’re gone….. What does it mean?

Inquiring minds want to know because this thread has woven itself in and out of the entire Chronicles. And basically SRD says, nothing to see here, get over it. Covenant and Linden make love again….

Lol.

2. Why wasn’t Linden a “rightful white gold wielder” since Covenant had left his ring for her after defeating Foul?
Quote:
”I’m not entirely sure,” Covenant admitted. “Sure, I wanted you to have my ring. But I didn’t give it to you. Lord Foul just dropped it. And I was in the same situation with Joan. I only got her ring”—he stifled a wince—“because she couldn’t hold it any longer. That didn’t make me a rightful wielder either.”

He had experienced rightfulness. He knew what it meant.

“Now that’s changed.” With a gesture that felt effortless, he drew a brief streak of argent through the air….

If there were any niggling questions about Linden claiming Covenant’s ring, or why its potency was so difficult for her to fully exploit, there it is. Again, that’s what you get.

In light of the recent discussion over the puissance of the krill, Covenant’s comment is very condign:
Quote:
If you hadn’t used the krill when you resurrected me, you would have torn yourself apart. That’s the krill’s real power. It mediates contradictions.


The chapter concludes with Linden and Covenant having a deep conversation on the nature of guilt, desperation, power, and salvation. They land on that if there is meaning to any of the mistakes and glories in the world, then attempts must be made, risks must be taken, mistakes must be hazarded because we are human. Even with argent puissance and Earthpower and krills and Forestals and Ranyhyn and malachite, every choice is human.

The light has softened to a harmonious gleam as Thomas and Linden sigh, and fall asleep.

This chapter concludes part 1 of The Last Dark. The amount of business it actually takes care of is significant, yet our dear SRD incorporates this truckload of revelation so gracefully, the reader does not feel burdened. Instead, Covenant’s long sigh of relief is felt by the reader. There is so much hope in this chapter, but it is not easy hope (if there is such a thing). It is hope because of the humanity (and Gianity??) of our heroes.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...It is Hope, because of the humanity of the Author...

Yes, upon re-read of this brilliant chapter I had to put on the ole pair of Ray Bans and slap on a coat of Sunscreen 50..an absolute illuminating chapter and thanks Deer for your excellent exploration of it...

There is something so cool about this chapter. Perhaps its just me..a forest for the trees type thing, but let me put some additional light on it and see what you think...The chapter begins with , in spectacular fashion,, a brilliant entrance by Linden and ur-mahr ..leaving TC searching for the right words, the right time..to bare his heart to Linden's Love in equal fashion,," she deserves better"..In this chapter the author is doing the same with the reader who has opened themselves to this work. The parallel planting and growth of Glowing Willow, Running Rill with aliantha and grasses,,takes us to the " Man in tune with Nature" surrounded by song of the Forestal , in Harmony..The author Hopes.. we Love his words,,we find Love in his words..its a matter of ..the right words at the right time.." I didn't just give you a white gold ring. I gave you me."..It strikes me..the author metaphorically tells us about His experience in writing..the Love, or nature..the right words and timing of doing what he Loves to do,,what makes him at peace with himself , his expression of his talent. TC is so careful with his words..while in the background there is the ever present " hymnody" The author has an ever present " thing" as in.." that he had said enough",," he wanted to say",," thats not an answer." etc etc...And then ...the game changer,,the opening to the rest of the book,,the segue to part two..." And for another-" Goaded by his own necessary passions, Covenant's voice rose, Linden, I just don't believe it. I don't believe Lord Foul can't be stopped. I don't even believe the world can't be saved. Freeing Lord Foul wasn't the only thing Berek talked about. He also said there's ANOTHER TRUTH on the far side of despair and doom. All we have to do is find it."...WOW!..and please remember,,this book began with the author going on about metaphors...another truth on the far side indeed..mobius strip.

Much simile in this chapter,( Like the voice of night, ..as if she were pulling the night around her,as if she retreated to a redoubt where he could not hope to reach her,as if the words were splinters of glass). A spectacular visual metaphor leads it off and the author bares his own heart ...Sight and Sounds, even a unseen and a unheard or two in there, almost a chaos of manifestations just barely linked ,if at all ,to before and after,,words...an onslaught of words..that with a an open heart,,with a love,,..bring forth a Hopeful Love ..another Truth on the far side of despair and doom..Much of this chapter links to ..." You Are Mine" chapter and then the epilogue, but on its own..yea,,the unity of Love and Hope,,at all levels...creates future. ..otherwise,,we're just repeating the Past. The gang, The Company, now has all the tools, the awareness of multitudes of choices,( I totally concur on the "beauty" of the line; " What did he gain by being a leper if numbness did not dull the edges of his fears?"),that they can challenge the despair of " black or white.."and with that knowledge, they can rest peacefully...Again,,there is that "sleep" ....How inside out, upside down..classical Donaldson, forever TCoTC..to fall asleep in so much brilliance....This chapter is Great.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your wonderful dissection, deer of the dawn! It's an amazing chapter, in which several significant hurts are healed.

deer of the dawn wrote:
The “necessity” of self-abnegation and punitive discipline once controlled and defined Covenant. Now it’s gone forever. Thank God! It is hard to live with a prophet.


It's a nice change, even if Covenant must still adhere to being a leper. I like that he still remains The Unbeliever, but instead of denying the Land's reality he strongly denies the inevitability of defeat and the impossibility of redemption. Here I'm going to expand on the quote lurch made in the last post, because it's my favorite passage in this chapter.

Quote:
Goaded by his own necessary passions, Covenant's voice rose. "Linden, I just don't believe it. I don't believe Lord Foul can't be stopped. I don't even believe the world can't be saved. Freeing Lord Foul wasn't the only thing Berek talked about. He also said there's another truth on the far side of despair and doom. All we have to do is find it."

She did not react. He could not be sure that she was listening. He might have been speaking to the leaves and boughs, the harmony of gleams, rather than to the woman in his arms.
Nevertheless she continued to hold on to him.
You wil not fail, however he may assail you. There is also love in the world.
Because she did not let go, he said more.
"And for another--Oh, hell. I've written entire novels about this. 'Guilt is power. Only the damned can be saved.' Maybe that sounds cynical. maybe it is. But who else needs to be saved? Who else can be? Not the innocent. They have their own problems." He was thinking of the Masters, who thought that rigid purity of service would relieve their ancient humiliation. "They don't need anything as gracious or just plain kind as forgiveness.
"So maybe blaming ourselves is a waste of time. Maybe we should just admit that everybody goes wrong. Everybody does damage. That's what being human enough to make mistakes means. And it that's what being human means, then there's really only one question we have to answer. Is making mistakes all it means?
"If it isn't, then everything counts. Resurrecting me and waking up the Worm. Making love together and killing Cavewights. Hell and blood, Linden! I let my own daughter be sacrificed against She Who Must Not Be Named. And I didn't stop there. I went right up to the most pitiful woman I've ever known and stuck a knife in her chest. If you think I don't feel bad about things like that, you haven't been paying attention. But if everything counts, then guilt is no reason to stop trying for something better."
Somewhere among the music of his lights, Caerwood ur-Mahrtiir sang, "It is my heart I give to you--"


And I must say I enjoy how the Forestal's song lyrics coincide with Covenant sharing his heart to Linden. Quite enjoyable for me!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well begun, deer. Don't feel too bad about crying like a baby - Covenant and Linden have gone through so much, that those moments of love, when they finally happen, tremble anyone's lip.

deer of the dawn wrote:
The wild energy of the opening paragraphs, with Ranyhyn exploding into the group before the fane, damps down to the tender sapling Caerwood-ur-Mahrtiir holds in his hand, root ball and all. It’s all that seems to ground Covenant’s confusion, for the chapter is told from his perspective and all he can do is curse in response to the wonders that burst in on him.

I was going to open with, "this chapter is so dazzling, it's hard to really see it." I think that comment is apropos here, and so here i leave it. Even reading it the second time, it just went through me like bright light. It's hard to stop and notice how it's written.

But there is no doubt, as you suggest, that Light is the theme.

BTW ... the way this chapter opens, do you think Linden and ur-Mahrtiir really emerge from the krill's light? There's nothing to suggest that they didn't.

deer of the dawn wrote:
Covenant can finally tell Linden why he’s been all “Don’t touch me”. He is ashamed in part because of his necessary rejection of her so that she would do what she had to do. But now he also wants her to know that he did it out of his own brokenness. He wouldn’t have been able to do what he had to do, had they come together earlier. He was afraid.

Yes. These are clues that reveal to us what Covenant is going through in his second life. He feels that he exists to do what he must do, and to get Linden to do what she must do. There's no room for Covenant the lonely guy, or Linden the lonely gal. But ... in this chapter, he starts to come around. Partly because what needed to be done was done, partly because he mended himself in the caesure, partly because having Linden back reminds him of what he loves. He's daring to believe that following his heart is okay.

There's a journey in there. From selfishness to caring for others to sacrificing oneself to existing to serve to ... recognizing that you can serve and also love, I guess.

Or maybe it's a statement about the beauty of service. If you give yourself to others, what you need comes back to you.

deer of the dawn wrote:
The “necessity” of self-abnegation and punitive discipline once controlled and defined Covenant. Now it’s gone forever.

That's a beautiful insight. It feels right to me. Because it seems like a step on the path to wholeness. And it bookends one other thing in this chapter ...

deer of the dawn wrote:
The issue of the grass stains comes up.

Yes. Twice there is the comment, "she doesn't need them any more".

The stains, as a map, rescued her from the mind trap of the lurker. She followed them to get out of the maze of her past.

If you consider that the stains are a map to finding herself, then no longer needing the map would signify that she has found herself.

So Linden, too, has taken more steps to becoming whole. Beardless and unstained, they have come very far.

This chapter includes Linden beginning to forgive herself for rousing the Worm. Covenant's words help her see forward, she even recognizes that what she has told Jeremiah about failure applies also to herself. And the chapter ends with Covenant pronouncing that "she does not forgive" is gone.

Yes. She no longer needs that map.

Cord Hurn wrote:
And I must say I enjoy how the Forestal's song lyrics coincide with Covenant sharing his heart to Linden. Quite enjoyable for me!

Yes. It's a bit hard to miss that ... orchestration. This makes the tree, then, a symbol of Thomas's and Linden's union, growing from dust and dearth, to become a protective shelter. The fact that the two lovers "christened" the bower, in the best possible way, seals the deal. Donaldson doesn't deliver the metaphors subtly here, but I don't mind, there's so much joy and soul asuage.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cord Hurn wrote:
I like that he still remains The Unbeliever, but instead of denying the Land's reality he strongly denies the inevitability of defeat and the impossibility of redemption. Here I'm going to expand on the quote lurch made in the last post, because it's my favorite passage in this chapter.

Quote:
Goaded by his own necessary passions, Covenant's voice rose. "Linden, I just don't believe it.
...

Good catch, Hurn, on the "Unbeliever" thing-- Unbeliever he remains, but his choice of what not to believe shows how far he has come from "leper outcast unclean" to "Thomas". Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly he has gone from unbelieving what is possible to unbelieving what is impossible.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

..yea..how cool is it to go from not believing a reality exists.. to ..believing the reality exists to the extent of..being willing and able to Change it...? If a reality can't change, is it dead?......a variation on the point Jerry subtly made...." even the quellvisk were good for something.."
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deer of the dawn wrote:
But before he can formulate his response Linden’s attention is drawn to Jeremiah and the wounded Cabledarm. (We do have to note that those pesky grass stains are gone from Linden’s jeans!) Her healing of the Giant is ruthless; in spite of Linden’s cleansed exterior, her inner wounds still control her. She and Jeremiah are sorry for hurting each other by the choices they have made in order to not be useless. Covenant wonders whether he should take it personally…

Quote:
How often had he said, Don’t touch me?

(There’s a drinking game in there somewhere, if one were so inclined…) Wink


Such a drinking game would be tough on the participants during readings of either Lord Foul's Bane or The One Tree, but notably gentler on the liver for the other TCoTC books.

wayfriend wrote:
Certainly he has gone from unbelieving what is possible to unbelieving what is impossible.

As always, wayfriend, you put it more succinctly and elegantly that I can! Cheers

lurch wrote:
..yea..how cool is it to go from not believing a reality exists.. to ..believing the reality exists to the extent of..being willing and able to Change it...?


Pretty cool indeed, lurch! My take on this transformation of Covenant is that he's become an Unbeliever in a more profound and inspirational way.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know I have to bust my butt on the next chapter, but there's one thing I forgot to mention.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
In an instant, her turmoil was transfigured. Out of confusion and pain, she gathered herself. Her eyes reflected argent and recognition in patterns that spoke to Covenant. Without glancing at Stave, she tossed her Staff to the former Master. Its fire vanished before he caught it.

I loved this little visual detail of Linden tossing the Staff to Stave. A nice cue that Linden is dropping everything for this moment, this means everything. And you just know that Stave caught the Staff deftly, without any expression. He's always there for her, like the staple rom/com selfless friend. (Stave gets the Staff, but Thomas gets the girl ... I am sure lurch can make something of that!) It's just a little, endearing, light-hearted, humanizing moment that brings the sweeping saga back down to a boy-meets-girl level.

And "her eyes reflected patterns" ... sweet on sweet. Despite his claims, Donaldson can be very visual when he wants to. Not to mention romantic.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
(Stave gets the Staff, but Thomas gets the girl ... I am sure lurch can make something of that!)


Lurch can formulate a metaphor out of anything! Apparently even from the pajamas of a cartoon Jeremiah. Laughing
Stave didn't strike me as the type to prefer staffs, though.

Anyway, I must catch up on these retrospectively.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deer of the Dawn wrote
Quote:

Apparently, the Forestal is the Barry White of the Land. Linden can’t resist Mahrtiir’s mojo…


That's awesome! I'm just grateful that image was saved until after my full reading of the Chronicles was completed.

Quote:
What did he gain by being a leper if numbness did not dull the edges of his fears?


I am fascinated with TC's leprosy and hiw this effects his choice to harbor unbelief, both within and without the Land. Its like a paradox going on. He has leprosy, and he must survive, and so he develops his own creed for survival in his world, which may or not be what is truly best.
 
TC's leprosy and outcast status in the real world causes him to decide not to have hope, since to hope might risk relaxing his discipline for self-preservation, which would ultimately lead to his own self-destruction.  He visits the Land, where this inner conflict (his despiser if you will) is transformed into external threats.  In the Land, he also chooses not to hope, not to believe, or at best to be indifferent. This lack of belief brings about an unwillingness to act, to make attempts at preservation, to take responsibility for anything, which then leads toward a path of self-destruction.

The paradox is that In TC’s real world mind, he decides that choosing to hope leads to self-destruction, whereas in the Land, he discovers (in the end) that NOT choosing to hope leads to despair and destruction.  This picks up on some of Cord Hurn's favorite passage from the chapter. Each person carries the power to preserve themselves from destruction, which can only be developed out of weakness and failings ("the power of guilt"), sufferings, and placing trust in each other ("there is also love in the world").   And so we become more completely human and salvific through hope and suffering than if we were left with the “innocence" of never having known suffering (like the people of the Land the masters are trying to shelter from the truth). We learn something from it, and we choose to have hope ("There's another truth on the far side of despair and doom....Guilt is no reason to stop trying for something better").
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Frostheart Grueburn
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aaah this chapter drips with syrup and sugar to the point of making dentists curse and brandish their drills in vehemence. The most romantic passage SRD has written since Pitchwife's lavish confessions of love by the Wightbarrow. Hearts Worry not, I snuffled as well. Blaah, and as a consequence now pining for some Giantish mush...

One matter that intrigued me was Linden's recreation of TC. He was resurrected from a mental image, a fractured spirit stuffed into a modified vessel. SRD does not return to the matter, but do you think this might have altered his nature somehow, apart from missing a few hairs?

I'm loving Martyr's holy grove in this chapter. Smile So much hope woven into this mini-paradise. I have analyzed some of its symbolic significances in my own dissection; I actually wrote that before catching up with these missed chapters in a disheveled upside-down reverse order.

I may add a thought or three later; at the moment I'm so tired my English is groaning in its throes of death and I may begin to kirjoittaa jollain muulla kielellä jos en painu vällyjen väliin äääh...
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