As this chapter begins, we (and Aragorn) bid farewell to Gandalf. As we trudge along with the company along the long road, we take a side trip with Gimli and Frodo (and Sam, of course) to Durin's stone, where the father of the dwarves first looked into the Mirrormere. When we look, we see the "the forms of the encircling mountains mirrored in a profound blue, and the peaks were like plumes of white flame above them; beyond there was a space of sky. There like jewels sunk in the deep shone glinting stars, though sunlight was in the sky above." But no shadow of our own forms can be seen, and later, when asked, we are too sunk in thought to speak of what we have seen.
We continue on towards the woods of Lothlórien, fairest of the dwellings of Legolas's people. Soon Frodo and Sam lag behind, and Aragorn stops to tend to their hurts. It is then that Frodo's "pretty hobbit-skin to wrap an elven-princeling in" is discovered. But Frodo soon also hears the quick patter of small feet and catches a glimpse of two tiny gleams of light like eyes in the dark.
As we approach the hidden wood, Boromir reveals himself to be a reflection of how much wisdom has waned in Gondor (as his brother would not have), balking at entering the "perilous land" of the Golden Wood. He is quickly rebuked and corrected by Aragorn, and as we hear the voice of Nimrodel, "the music of the waterfall running sweetly in the shadows," Legolas sings to us of the Elf-maiden for which it is named, and tells us something of her tale.
As we prepare to climb the trees on the border of the Wood to spend the night, we are waylaid by the Elven border guards, who note that we breath so loudly that they can hear our breaths. After some discussion, we spend the night on high flet in the tress with our hosts. Frodo again sees two pales eyes, and shadowy figure, which flees from Haldir the Elf.
We cross the Silverlode, and then are blindfolded, after both the Dwarf and the Elf show that stubbornness is an interspecies trait. But we can sense that we are entering some place that has known evil, but upon which no shadow lays. Messages are received from the Lord and Lady, and our blindfolds are removed, just as we reach Cerin Amroth, the heart of the ancient realm as it was long ago. In his inimitable way, Sam sums up what we feel: ‘It’s sunlight and bright day, right enough,’ he said. ‘I thought that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.’ But Aragorn is wrapped in fair memory, and the grim years are wiped from his face, as he speaks Elvish words to someone that only he can see: 'Arwen vanimelda, namárië!'
Believe it if you need it,
if you don't just pass it on.