This year (2013) marks the 76th anniversary of the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterful work The Hobbit, and the 35th anniversary of my first reading of it.
I remember being carried away to the magical world of Middle Earth, of excitedly turning page after page after page, of imagining how each character and place looked and sounded. As I re-read The Hobbit, all those feelings came rushing back. As I read some passages I smiled in fond remembrance; as I read others I wondered how I missed the profundity the first time I read it. As Bilbo approached Bag-End near the end of his journey, I could strangely relate to these words—
Roads go ever ever on,Over rock and under tree,By caves where never sun has shone,By streams that never find the sea;Over snow by winter sown,And through the merry flowers of June,Over grass and over stone,And under mountains in the moon.Roads go ever ever onUnder cloud and under star,Yet feet that wandering have goneTurn at last to home afar.Eyes that fire and sword have seenAnd horror in the halls of stoneLook at last on meadows greenAnd trees and hills they long have known.”
I loved my return visit to Middle Earth!
Whether you have read this story before or not, I encourage you to read it again. If you are a parent, read The Hobbit with your children and enjoy the magical journey together. You won’t be disappointed at the richness of Tolkien’s writing.