It's a new year, and one that I am both fearing and anticipating with peace. I'm excited, and that's a lot of pressure to put on the next 12 months, but so be it. One thing I am certain to be overjoyed with is the re-appearance of Tolkien into the world and wherever Middle Earth exists there is a lot of clarity and epic courage that follows.
As is tradition, December was the season for watching the trilogy and for some reason it has meant a lot more in comparison to recent past viewings. Perhaps it's the "familiar" at the end of a strange and insecure year or the rekindled hope that the struggles you committed energy into battling will be conquered. That even when the road looks bleak, hopeless or you just feel lost... that you keep going because it is for the greater good. Whatever the reason I have fallen in love all over again with a story where mind, heart and imagination are satisfied.
The old year has been an adjustment and I can't help but feel a bit lost by the end of it. It was a rich year that I'm thankful for but its evaluation of progress has shown its apparent lack of quality. It seems quality in its entirety has taken on new definitions and I find myself coming up so short, so unequal to the task of me and my life changing for the better that its purpose is questioned. I could sit tight, ignore the storm on the horizon and remain comfortable for a bit longer... or, I can grab my map, pack, tighten my belt and head off to Mordor to be rid of my ring. Problem is our own ring of power takes a life time to destroy... a lifetime of refinery. But you have to get up some time and not pay attention to the odds that are stacked against you.
"Can you promise that I will come back?"
"No. And if you do, you will not be the same."
Oh I love the depth and reality to it. Every decision they made, each little line and mile they crossed you can see is what made the story. Not chapters of build-up and an escalating finale, but simple unseen choices left unpraised that shaped the characters who saved Middle Earth... and I love them for it. Sitting in front of that familiar epic scene where Gandalf fights the Balrog in the depths of Moria was a moment of clear reminder for me. Suddenly an old truth, quite forgotten, called out in my distant memory of what sacrifice, obedience and the decision to choose the hard road was all for. It was a rich moment and I realized I needed its friendship to help me along the way.
So I crossed all my book plans off for this year and simply wrote "The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, The Hobbit". I guess you could say this is me quitting my goal of planned success for the year and am simply walking out my door. Now instead of counting all my new friends in all their unexplored binding and pages, I'm going to visit an old one that changed my life for the better.
I cannot express how excited I am.
How much more excited am I that Peter Jackson would fuel my re-entrance into Middle Earth with the promise of The Hobbit in December. It's living the exciting anticipation of the trilogy all over again! This was the first book of Tolkien's that I read when I was in 8th grade. With my siblings engrossed in the trilogy, and me waiting my turn to get my hands on the one copy of The Fellowship that we had, The Hobbit was my entrance into Middle Earth. Hooked, and in love with this high brilliant genre, the books changed our lives forever.
And how much more happy am I that I have FINALLY finished The Troubled Heart of Africa. Now I may pick up The Fellowship with a clear conscience and be free of unnecessary baggage to weigh me down for my journey with Frodo.