Tolkien Reading Day 2018

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 2018

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.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018The hobbit Bilbo Baggins, as portrayed by Martin Freeman in the 2012 film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018Tolkien Reading Day 2018

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.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018

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.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018

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.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018

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Surrender 85: Tolkien Reading Day Helps Me to Release a Friend

Today is Tolkien Reading Day, a global celebration of the writings of JRR Tolkien. Begun by The Tolkien Society in 2003, the event is intended to encourage people to read and discuss this amazing author’s work.

I discovered this holiday last year and I’ve looked forward to reading from a selection of my Tolkien books today. There is a different theme every year. Life, Death and Immortality is the theme for 2016.

I enjoyed a quiet time this morning, reading from The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion and a beautiful leather Tolkien Dictionary that my grandson Dayan gave me for Christmas. Tolkien is one of my favorite authors and his words have the power to stir me deeply.

The holiday and theme of Life, Death and Immortality carried greater significance for me today. A dear friend of mine died five years ago this month. He possessed a beautiful soul. He was also a beautiful mess. Big-hearted, fun loving, one of the best huggers in the world, he appeared to be a happy, successful man.

However, like so many others, inside he was a broken man, full of angst and deep wounds. To him, there was no healing from his inner pain, which descended upon him at unexpected times, robbing him of joy and hope. During his last bout with despair, he ended the pain by taking his own life.


I have carried that memory for five years. It has been a very solitary journey in which I have worked my way through shock, grief, and anger to acceptance, forgiveness and finally gratitude for the impact he had on my life. My journey now is what it is, because of his life and death.

I have also been the caretaker of my friend’s cremains, his ashes contained in a large brass urn. Many times during the last five years I’ve thought of spreading his ashes in a beautiful place that he loved. There was one problem. I couldn’t get the urn opened.

Recently, it has felt like the right time to release my friend, to symbolically free him and free myself, to let him go. If only I could get the urn to open. A week ago, I asked him for help, from the Spirit realm, if this was indeed the right time to do this. Tuesday, in an unexpected turn of events, the urn was opened. It was time.

This was a gorgeous day to say “I’ll see you again some day.” I walked along the river, which is my symbol for this year. The river also symbolizes Life and Transcendence, Flow and the Passing of Time.

I found the perfect spot to release the ashes. I played his favorite song. His wristbands adorned my wrist. I spoke quietly to him, thanking him for touching my life. I invited his shining spirit to visit me anytime. I wished him peace and joy and love. And scattered his ashes along the river.

The sun was brilliant upon the water. And the air was perfectly still, yet charged with energy. I suddenly noticed yellow wildflowers growing all around me. I felt peace.

I read a quote of Tolkien’s, which was so right for the day. And headed home. As I walked to my car, I sling-shot the wrist bands deep into the woods, where they can rest among the flowers, reminders of his presence in this place that he loved.

“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path. One we all must take. The gray rain curtains of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.”