I grew up listening to my mother reading to me.
We started with Mrs. Pigglewiggle and moved on
through Little Women and on to the great prize
The Lord of the Rings,
the whole trilogy. She did the voices, and I hated Boromir and idolized Strider and Aeowyn, just like you’d hope.
I learned how to care for jade plants from my dad.
Let them dry out, soak them through, let them dry out again.
Inside everything you learn is a fractal.
Though I pored over a book called the Illustrated
Tolkien Encyclopedia, but I never tried to learn Quenya.
And it was decades before I realized that there is more
To jades than dryness, water, and hope.
There is luck, and pinching leaves, and the feeling of seeing new
fingery shoots sprouting from end of their fallen
Looking up the cultivar I realize it is not Golem Jade,
named after the great clay man created by a Rabbi
to protect the Jews of of Prague (or do their chores)
as I had assumed
I misread the little label when I brought it home, I guess.
The thing is a Gollum Jade, an off shoot
of an earlier cultivar; the Hobbit Jade.
Someone named the jades in the so-called “Tolkien group” –
who was it? Why did they get the honor? And what
made them do it?
Did they get further than me, learn Quenya,
know each age of the world? Or just see something in the
reaching fingers that reminded them of a story they