Today my mom and I went on an unexpected adventure with Bilbo Baggins. Well, it was unexpected for Bilbo, but we had been anticipating it since Dec. 14th when the movie released. We’ve been in Texas for the past few weeks, so this was the first opportunity we’ve had to see it. And it did not disappoint! It was so special to enter Middle Earth again and see the Shire, Rivendell, the forests, and the mountains again. We were reunited with old friends and met lots of new ones. Everyone involved did a superb job seamlessly integrating Hobbit into the world of Middle Earth that we were introduced to 11 years ago. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. Fellowship of the Ring was the first movie I saw at a movie theater. I didn’t go to theater as a child, and it wasn’t until I was in college that I finally had the desire to go – for Lord of the Rings. I was completely spellbound by it. It awoke in me a love that I had only been vaguely aware of until that point. Under the tutelage of Tolkien and the breathtaking visuals of the films, it blossomed into full flower and I’ve never been the same since. It revealed to me the simultaneous fragility and strength of beauty. Tolkien makes a very strong connection between beauty and goodness. Oftentimes, the truly good and beautiful things of our world and Middle Earth seem incredibly delicate – a blooming flower, a sunray in darkness, a fresh stream, a gentle touch of kindness. But it is these fragile goodnesses that overturn the sea of darkness threatening the world. It’s Frodo’s remembrances of the small joys of contented life in the Shire that give him strength to attempt the ring’s destruction; it’s small acts of mercy and bravery that overthrow evil; it’s the wholesome beauty of nature that resists the scarring of evil on the landscape. The same is true in our world. Tolkien gave me a special gift by teaching me of the importance of beauty in the world – and the need to appreciate it, protect it, and cultivate it in nature, in culture, and in ourselves.
Blessings to you,