I'm in the middle of my annual re-read of the Lord of the Rings. This year, as I sometimes do, I'm including the Hobbit. The Hobbit doesn't have the epic scale of the Lord of the Rings, but in many ways it's my favorite book. It's sweet, and simple, and honest. It captures a wonderful aspect of Tolkien's writing, which is that important human things are lost as we embrace modern life. He says in the preface that he saw his world of rural England subsumed and replaced by trains and automobiles. In his typical honest fashion, he isn't lamenting the future or praising the past, but simply pointing out that things are changing, have changed, and wondering if anyone is thinking about what it means. It isn't anachronism; it's contemplation.
I love the writings of Tolkien. Paired with two other things, tea and jazz, I think I am a great hobbit. I'd certainly rather have cakes and tea than gold and adventure. And sometimes, a deep part of me longs to see the mountains and the sea. But I settle for tea and cakes. Maybe a cappuccino if I'm feeling wild. It's a good thing pipes are relatively uncommon, because I'd be sorely tempted to smoke. And Jaime would never allow that. (There's a reason Bilbo was single.)
I thought, when I was younger, that I was Frodo. Maybe my dad was Bilbo. But as I age, and reflect on the characters, I think I'm Bilbo, and dad is his father, Drogo. Taviri can take over the mantle and become the Frodo. He's got it in him to save the world. He isn't so enchanted with the simple pleasures of jazz and tea, and he doesn't seem the type to sit still. Perhaps it's a possibility, a potential. I found Jaime and became the Bilbo. I could have been Frodo, but for some different choices.
I sold a ton of my books and gave away a lot of music this week. I'm taking a few boxes back east with me, including my battered old Tolkien books I got from my dad. I'm loading up my ipod with jazz, and making some fun playlists. I'm packing our cooler with tea. The music, the hot tea, and the books will make the long days pass in comfort and pleasure. I'll sneak out when Jaime isn't looking and find the cakes. The pipe... well, the pipe I'll save for retirement.