With the tear-stained excavations of Ground Zero now turning toward talk of memorial parks and rebuilding, and with the Pentagon scarred but standing, it is time for rebuilding, for planting, for new life and togetherness. As a fan community ostensibly organized in honour of a gardener, a father, a comrade, a companion, a servant, and a community leader, we see this call for service, for planting anew, as a call we feel particularly keenly, and would like to extend more than our mere good wishes.
Our plan is to select a charity organization in the Portland, Oregon area that supports reading programs for children, due both to Sam's role as the keeper of the Red Book of Westmarch and Mr. Astin's special interest in children's literacy, and to landscape the grounds surrounding it. The exact organization will be chosen by size and need, based primarily upon the amount of support we receive for Project Elanor. BitofEarth Head Gardener Victoria Bitter will lead this effort, co-chaired by BitofEarth Webmistress Orangeblossom Brambleburr, but while we send out a special plea to BitofEarth members, anyone at all is welcome to participate.
It is our hope to be able to thoroughly landscape the chosen site, complete with flower beds, pathways, and birdhouses and birdbaths to encourage wildlife, but the centerpiece of the project will be a plaque with a gilded nut - Sam's precious mallorn seed - and this inscription from Return of the King, taken from Frodo's final words to Sam: "...Your hands and your wits will be needed everywhere. You will be the Mayor, of course, as long as you want to be, and the most famous gardener in history; and you will read things out of the Red Book, and keep alive the memory of the age that is gone, so that people will remember the Great Danger and so love their beloved land all the more." It will be dedicated "From those over the Sea and those who labour in their spirit, that the Age of Men shall have been left in good hands. In love and Fellowship, the members of BitofEarth and their Company."
For those who wish to support this effort, tentatively scheduled for April 6 (Sam's reputed birthday and nicely into planting season) donations of seeds, bulbs, tools, work gloves, money, or other supplies may be sent to:
PO Box 220251
Milwaukie, Oregon 97222
United States of America
Also needed on the date itself will be good sturdy backs and strong arms willing to put spade to earth, and while the particulars will not be finalized for a while yet, we would much appreciate a rough headcount of Northwest Ringers who would be interested in participating, the better to choose our charity.
In Peace and Good Fellowship
Victoria Bitter (firstname.lastname@example.org) - Head Gardener, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer,
Orangeblossom Brambleburr (email@example.com) - Webmistress, Garden-Tender and Water-Bearer