|The Angelus -- Jean-Francois Millet|
Tolkien was appalled by our modern obsession with speedy locomotion. It annihilates space, he said, blinding us to the glories that we are traversing. As with much of modern technology, he feared that jet travel is yet another instance of what Thoreau called "improved means to unimproved ends." We take off from New York or Atlanta and land in Cairo or Delhi a few hours later, as if these vastly different cities in vastly different countries were abstract and featureless places, mere dots on a map. No wonder that Tolkien penned a tart note to one year's income tax payment, refusing his support of supersonic jet travel: "Not a penny for Concorde."
Ralph C. Wood. The Gospel According to Tolkien
And as if in answer there came from not too far away another note. For at the bottom of this page on my screen is the following message:
"7 hrs 35 mins left in book"
There has to be a place and a time where all this haste stops, just stops, just stops. And that place and that time must be home, where we may be enchanted out of the world where we lay waste our powers, and recover our selves from the hasty, locomotive days outside our door. Or, as Pink Floyd tell us:
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today,
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time,
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say .
Home, home again,
I like to be here when I can.
When I come home cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire.
Far away, across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell.
Time, David Gilmour and Richard Wright.