Mystical Realms Newsletter for December, 2009
Welcome to my newsletter for December, 2009, and a Happy Advent to all! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me. To receive these newsletters regularly, please drop me an email or subscribe online from my website (http://www.JefMurray.com ) or at: http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms . Notices of events and items of interest are at the bottom of this email.
I sensed the soaring sandhills today at least, so it seemed. A distant discord cockled calls above clouds. "Come along! Come along!" Would that I could follow that cry .
But I am earth enslaved, gravity grounded. Freedom for me is fought for, not found in flight. I defend what is dear, beating the bounds.
A friend recently rendered me misty-eyed, mulling. She reminded me of Middle-earth's Dúnedain: those who safeguard the simple joys of life for others. This at a cost of long vigils: watching waiting. I've pondered their countenances as I've tried to render Rangers. What would it cost? What lines of worry would etch each brow? What grizzled grayness would graft itself onto black locks? Eyes, though, always piercing through stave and stone, fog and flesh.
Our blueberry bushes are blazing. All other leaves have flooded the front yard. Busy folk on busy lawns rake and blow blizzards of the dead and dying as I continue to listen for unclear croonings. This is too busy a place for Rangers! Surely I should take the straightest path out to the edges; hike to the creek, tool trenches in soft earth and hole up .
Or maybe not.
Maybe the edges stand before me. Maybe the boundary is not `round hearth and home, but around the human heart. I can stand, staff in hand, descrying demons beyond each branch or I can seek, perhaps, for a subtler safety.
And with that thought, sound ceases. Clatter calms, motors mute. All I feel is air flowing, colossal currents just past perception, a maelstrom with this small house at its center, this small heart at its center.
And then I realize. The boundaries still exist. Aragorn's kin are still out in that storm, seeking. They are not guarding the Shire, but my soul. They aren't felling wickedness so much as weakness, not trolls so much as transgressions. But they want aid I, too, must play my part. I must open gates and armories. I must heed their counsel when they bring forth the Black Arrow.
This is hard to find that _I_ am the very ground on which this battle is fought!
But there is no nobler time to join these ranks. Now is when all eternity begins; now is when the tide turns; now is all we have, despite the coaxings of Morgoth to put this off for just one more day just one more day just one more day .
Now, by all that is holy, Lord, help me to simply say "yes" .
One word, whispered in darkness, and all is well. One small sound spoken against the storm, and those that seek to secure me will clash swords and shout hallelujahs!
For it seems to me the title "Ranger" suits not these guardians. Messengers I name them, Forerunners. These warriors sport wings! And with mighty blast of trumpets, they will bear each of us through the tempest as we prepare, at long last, for the return of the King.
- Author and scholar Colin Duriez is editing a new online magazine that will highlight "Festival in the Shire" details, guests, events, etc. The first issue should be appearing in December or early January; check www.FestivalintheShire.com for the latest news on what should be a very interesting new publication for Tolkien lovers.
- The next issue of the "St. Austin Review (StAR)" (due out in January), will focus on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and should include a lot of articles and images of interest to Tolkien and Lewis fans. See http://www.staustinreview.com/ for more details.
- The next full exhibition at Moreton in Marsh will be entitled "The Edge of the Wild", and will include art by Ted Nasmith, Ruth Lacon, Peter Pracownik, and myself. It will run Friday, March 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm through Monday, March 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm. You can find out more on Facebook by searching on "Edge of the Wild", or by checking out the ADC Books website at http://www.adcbooks.co.uk/
- The next issue of "Silver Leaves", the journal of the White Tree Fund (http://www.whitetreefund.org/) , will be featuring a couple of my painting images (although not, to my knowledge, the cover image!). The issue focuses on fantasy art, so I am particularly delighted that they will be including my work. I also have a short article in this, the third volume, of "Silver Leaves".
- The first ever "Beyond Bree" calendar is out! It features artwork by myself, Ted Nasmith, Tim Kirk, Kay Woollard, Sylvia Hunnewell, Louise Ying Chen, Octo Kwan, plus more! To order yours, please contact Nancy Martsch at beyondbree@...
- The new Heren Istarion calendar is also out! Again designed by Phil and Megan Goss and set in Shire Reckoning format, it includes artwork by Henning Janssen, Ruth Lacon, and a little bit from me (including the cover image). For more info, contact Anthony and Jessica at www.herenistarion.org .
- On Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 7:05 AM, jef.murray <jef.murray@...> wrote:
> - The first ever "Beyond Bree" calendar is out! It features artwork by myself, Ted Nasmith, Tim Kirk, Kay Woollard, Sylvia Hunnewell, Louise Ying Chen, Octo Kwan, plus more! To order yours, please contact Nancy Martsch at beyondbree@...I'm sure the new "Beyond Bree" calendar will be glorious, but I know
for a fact it is not the "first ever." I know this because I have a
copy of an earlier one, which in fact has a sample of my artwork in it
(Finrod welcoming Beren to Nargothrond, IIRC).