When I remembered this morning that today is Tolkien Reading Day, I knew just how to celebrate. I’ve enjoyed this unique holiday in the past, although it’s been a couple of years since I mindfully took part in the day.
Tolkien Reading Day is observed yearly, on March 25, the date in Middle Earth when the hobbits Frodo and Sam destroyed the One Ring. This special day was organized by the Tolkien Society, in 2003, to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of JRR Tolkien by reading favorite passages from his books.
Each year the society chooses a different theme. For 2018 the theme is Home and Hearth: The Many Ways of Being a Hobbit. That’s a theme I can wholeheartedly embrace! It fits right in with my hygge lifestyle.
I know hobbits. I have long been a fan of JRR Tolkien’s books, and then later the blockbuster films by Peter Jackson in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy. Hobbits are gentle, peaceful folks, who love good food and drink, afternoon tea, gardening, and smoking their pipes. They celebrate a simple, joy filled life, and appreciate a comfortable chair beside a crackling fire, a good book in hand.
Home and hearth and a well stocked pantry are important to the wee people who live in hobbit holes that tunnel into the ground. Their homes are not full of dirt and worms and oozy smells though. Oh no. Hobbits create comfort and beauty in their homes by using natural materials, wood and stones primarily, and an abundance of candles, fireplaces and round doors and windows on the exterior earth walls.
It was a bit cool to garden today, so I planned an afternoon tea, in honor of Professor Tolkien and the hobbits. I took great care in setting up tea beside my reading chair in my studio. Because hobbits love nature and candlelight so, I carried in my blooming purple hyacinths and a plain white candle.
I prepared a cup of steaming hot herbal tea…nettle leaf today…and a batch of wild blueberry scones. This was attempt number four, in creating a gluten, dairy, egg and refined sugar free scone that tastes good! I believe I finally succeeded.
I don’t have a fireplace but I was quite pleased with my cozy corner in my creative studio. Bilbo and Frodo would be pleased, albeit concerned about the lack of a feast. My cup of tea and healthy scone were perfect for me. Sunlight filtered in through the wooden blinds, creating a cheery atmosphere.
In keeping with the theme, I chose to read the first chapter in The Hobbit, the book that began the adventures in Middle Earth. I had the soundtrack from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring playing quietly on my iPod. I loved that peaceful hour, reading, sipping tea, nibbling on a scone.
My cat Shy Boy sensed my quiet joy apparently. He settled in my lap, content to be held while I read about Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield and his company of dwarves. I felt nostalgia as the story began. These dear characters are so familiar to me.
JRR Tolkien has had a tremendous impact on my life through his stories. The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales…these stories are about transformation, redemption and becoming. I found myself within the stories of Middle Earth, and discovered more about who I am and about my own journey. I appreciated the opportunity today to revisit Middle Earth and pause in reflection for a while.
I always wanted to be elvish, like Arwen in The Lord of the Rings. She was beautiful, ethereal, magical and willing to sacrifice her immortality for the love of Aragorn. I think I am actually more like Bilbo. I love many of the same things that he does…gardens and tea time, coziness and good books, being in nature and celebrating with friends.
And like Bilbo, who preferred to explore the world by looking at maps while in his armchair, something awoke in me as it did in him. A great longing for adventure stirred. And life shifted to accommodate that desire.
“As they (the dwarves) sang, the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hand and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and a jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”
And so he went on an adventure, that changed his life. And so have I.
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