I remember a time visiting a great uncle who lived along side a mountain overlooking a dry river valley. The time was around seven o’clock in the afternoon on a summer night. He lived in a very old village and had a large garden in the valley and one large, wild olive tree. His house was older than he was; the ceilings were low and the furniture antique. While sitting in his living room I got the sudden urge to explore the house so I slipped off and climbed a set of narrow stairs I saw in a corner. Walking up the stairs, I saw in the top room things old and dusty, rugs that were ancient and tattered, two wooden beds handmade, and a few small paintings faded to unrecognizable images. I entered the room and over a high shelf was a small window, emanating a warm golden light. I decided to climb up over the shelf to see out of the window and was struck by the beauty of the scene. There was the sunset, but like no other sunset I had ever seen. It was the light of a golden diamond from over the mountains, reflecting upon the sea, which was most striking to me since I didn’t realize how high up upon the mountain the house was situated until I could see the sea at that moment. It made me feel like I was standing inside a castle.
“I speak no comfort to you, for there is no comfort for such pain within the circles of the world. The uttermost choice is before you, to repent and go to the Havens and bear away into the West the memory of our days together that shall there be evergreen but never more than memory; or else to abide the Doom of Men.”
“Nay, dear lord,” she said, “that choice is long over. There is now no ship that would bear me hence, and I must indeed abide the Doom of Men, whether I will or I nill: the loss and the silence. But I say to you, King of the Numenoreans, not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall. As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last. For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men, it is bitter to receive.”
“So it seems,” he said. “But let us not be overthrown in the final test, who of old renounced the Shadow and the Ring. In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! We are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory. Farewell!”