“Dear me! We Tooks and Brandybucks, we can’t live long on the heights.”
“No,” said Merry. “I can’t. Not yet, at any rate. But at least, Pippin, we can now see them, and honour them. It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not. I am glad that I know about them, a little.”
Like Merry, I have grown in a deep, rich soil; my mind, my heart, and my soul have been nourished well by the people, books, and experiences I’ve had. And I’m thankful for that! But sometimes I catch glimpses of the things that are deeper and higher: the beauty, the truth, the holiness that stands guard around the simple things I know and love, and sanctifies and transforms it. Can I see it fully, or remain there long? Not yet. But I am glad for what I can see, and hope to see more someday – and maybe grow into those greater things myself, at some point.
Merry’s deeper understanding of the great and true things around him leaves him not with a contempt or disdain for the little things and the simple everyday things that characterized his life in the Shire, and I think that’s an important point. It is a sign that we have strayed away from beauty and truth when we begin to feel that contempt, I believe, as Saruman did when he chose to pursue power, knowledge, and control instead of wisdom, goodness, and beauty; true growth will leave us instead with a deeper appreciation for all that was good and noble in what we knew before.