Why does Frodo wait so long to leave the Shire? He learns of the nature and dangers of the Ring in April, yet he waits until September 23rd to begin his journey. The reader must wonder, “Why wait?”
You must remember the nature of hobbits: they love comfort and all things that grow. Even Frodo states this reason. When Fall comes, and nature fades the desire to travel comes upon him.
There is also the skepticism of the hobbits to consider, which I have already discussed in “Shadows of the Truth.” For a person who finds it hard to accept new information and believe in anything beyond the bubble of their own civilization, how would the revelation of the Ring sound? It would seem utter maddness. Think on this. How would you react if you discovered some family heirloom was dangerous or must be destroyed or relinquished in order to save or help others. Would you do it? Or would you, like Frodo, put it off for as long as you could? It is human, and in effect hobbit, nature to do so. If something is beatiful, or pleasurable or in any way rewarding it is difficult and traumatic to be forced to give it up. This is the danger and allure of the material world.
Finally, we have the Ring to consider.
Frodo’s plan to leave the Shire by way of Buckland is not fully formed until mid-summer. Remember the nature of the Ring’s power as proposed in the early drafts: it works through the wearer’s longings. Could it be the Ring manipulates Frodo’s desire to remain in the Shire to keep him from leaving? This hypothesis works under the suposition that the Ring is sentient, and in some way aware of the approaching Ringwraiths. Yet if this were true, wouldn’t it have kept him there longer? Even a day more and the wraiths would have found him.
Why does Frodo wait? There can be no conclusive answer. Yet it would appear the reasons are out of fear and reluctance to leave home. So who can blame him? Who does not cling to life and happiness and peace when they know it is soon to be lost?