The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say
J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I am here to tell you that, just as Bilbo said, the road does go ever on and on. Furthermore, as he implied (see above), this road goes on both literally and figuratively.
In our travels I sometimes wear a maroon hooded sweater that makes me look like one of the dwarfs in The Hobbit (not, I note, at all like a hobbit wearing a hooded Elven cloak from Lorien).
Before I go farther on this path: Yes, I am one of those The Lord of the Rings junkies, common in my generation. I first read the trilogy when I was seventeen and I have read it at least eight times since. Two of Tom’s and my happiest parenting times were when we read LOTR aloud first to our older children and then later to our youngest.* I am going on about all of this because, as a supposed “literature” person, I feel a bit defensive about reading the trilogy eight times instead of ever wanting to go back to The Magic Mountain or In the Heart of the Heart of the Country.
I am speaking literally and figuratively here:
- I always traveled with a dear companion, who, day after day, kindly hurt my broken wrist–my P.T. exercises–so I would heal, and then warmed my side of the winter bed for me.
- Sometimes the road was cold and lonely. I remembered the dead and worried about the living.
- Sometimes the trail was alight with the sunlight glinting on the wings of hundreds of butterflies freshly transformed in the pine woods of the high country. I didn’t manage to capture a photo of this, but the magic remains within us.
- Sometimes the path seemed dangerous—high and winding and steep—but I think it was only the fear within me.
- Sometimes we joined family and old friends along the road or met new friends–warmth and safety amid the cold, the heat, and the winding road.
*In my family, I am famous for always crying over the death of Boromir. I want to be a hobbit—merry, strong, and steadfast—but I am more like the frail man of Gondor (inside, of course, Boromir was a doughty warrior on the outside).
More to come, I think.