When the Winds Blow Across the Map of Middle Earth…

Upper Rangitata Basin

My feet have grown furry and large…

Okay, so maybe that is a dramatic overstatement (some may say outright lie), however, the sentiment is there.  The rolling green hills of the Shire.  A foamy draft in front of me at the table.  A disdain for adventure.  No…wait, not that last part. 

In spirit I am clearly more wizard or ranger than hobbit, though my stature suggests otherwise.  Thus, I am relegated to perpetually hungry mortal, a being of no mystical power, royalty or lineage.  But I maintain my love of adventure.  Fiercely, I might add. 

And when the winds blow across the map of Middle Earth, and a quest is upon me, I feel it necessary to pack my bag and begin the trek to far off places.  If trolls, dragons or a powerful ring await me, so be it.  This is my destiny. 

These muddled stuttering of words on a page may lead you to believe I’ve gone mad.  And I might, actually, had the mountains and the trees and the trails not gripped me and pulled me into their realm.  I’ve been dreaming again, can you tell?

My wife and I went to see a movie this past weekend.  The new James Bond thriller, Skyfall, to be exact.  Wonderful film.  But I’m not here today to discuss how I might secretly be a dashing spy, spectacularly dressed and the fancy of every gorgeous (albeit slightly evil) rogue mistress with a gun and high heels.  Nope.  Today I’m here to discuss how I’m clearly a hobbit.

So as I was saying, the movie.  Of course they HAVE to show twenty minutes of previews before the nearly three hours of the flick you actually went to the theater to see begins.  No worries.  For the most part, the previews are half the fun, right?  Well, lo and behold…a preview for the upcoming adventure The Hobbit.

So let me geek out here for a moment.  I’m pretty excited about a return to the characters of Tolkien’s mind.  Hobbits, dwarves, elves, wizards, et al. should make for an entertaining three hundred hours of movie (yeah, right, like Peter Jackson can MAKE a short film?), but honestly, it isn’t the characters I’m most excited about.  It’s the landscape.

The original movie trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, nearly forced me to sell all of my personal belongings and move to New Zealand.  I’m still not convinced I shouldn’t do it, but my wife gets suspicious each time I suggest letting people come into the house for a yard sale.

Luckily, I have all three movies on DVD, which means I can spend countless hours (which is pretty much what it takes) to watch them.  And I do, at least three times every year.  When, you ask?

I watch them once in the fall, once in winter and once in spring.  I watch, and get lost in the mountains and forests of a wonderful world that is a clever mix of real and Hollywood magic.  When I’m home from my own adventures, I immerse myself in the creative vision of Peter Jackson.

I’ve always said that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a mountaineering adventure.  Since the first time I read the book and watched the movies, I knew it was an epic tale that preceded Mallory, Hillary, Amundsen or Cook.  The great adventures…

Tolkien’s classics are road trips before we had roads.  Adventure of the highest order.  They set the benchmark and have yet to be equaled or better.  And another (hopefully) exciting round of movies are on their way.

Needless to say, I’m excited about it.  But I’m excited not just for the opportunity to spend the next five years in a dark theater watching a movie but because of the dreams and wonder it will provide for years to come.

I’m still a kid, walking the trails pretending the mountains hide dragons, orcs and magical rings.  In my mind I believe there are still mysterious caves and corners of our own Middle Earth to explore.

Hobbits aren’t known for their love of adventure.  They are known for their love of food and drink and their hoarding of money or personal belongings that provide some status within the community.  They are a gardening folk.  But at least one grew to love adventure, and four more after him.  Sure, I’m not crossing Rohan to the base of the Misty Mountains or climbing Mt Doom to save the world, but I can still dream can’t I?

And as long as my furry feet take me there, I will…

One response to “When the Winds Blow Across the Map of Middle Earth…

  1. Dear Greg,

    That was a lovely look into the life of one who dwells in The Shire. For the record, if you are a hobbit you’ve taken Ent draught into your system. LOL!

    Wish you both were here in NYC! I’m rallying a group to go see the new Hobbit Movie. It seems Tolkien and the holidays belong to each other. Adam and I are hoping to take a LOTR tour of New Zealand one day. We also are huge Tolkien fans – Adam so much that he wrote an opera based on Beren and Luthien from the Silmarillion. If interested the link to all the music is here: http://adamcjklein.us/adamsopera.html

    Anyway, thank you for the blog! Something just told me you were a Tolkien person. Now my feelings have been affirmed. HUGS – Tami

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