A day late, yet allow me to wish all Tolkien fans a very happy and literate Tolkien Reading Day! The Tolkien Society chose March 25th as Tolkien Reading Day, to coincide with the destruction of the Ring and the start of a new society, the Age of Men – and here we are. Men (and a hell of a lot of Women). In our Age. What an Age it is, no?
If you don't like Tolkien, then, um … Happy Day to you. And really the rest of this won't be interesting for you. At least I doubt it will be.
Well, our group's been meeting for about six months now to talk and plan and express our love for Tolkien's work, but what made yesterday different is that we were, for the first time, participating in a larger event. At least two of us are now members of the Tolkien Society and our little group can now be called a smial. To celebrate, we participated in Tolkien Reading Day, meeting up at a comfy restaurant (one of our staples, Pickle Barrel) with our books, our laughter and our friendship.
Before I go further, I have to reach out and hug everyone who was missed. Melly my lovely, Tamar, Margo, and wonderful Paulina, we missed you!! Martin, my dearest, dearest lad, I missed you so much in that little group. I kept wondering "What would Martin read today?" so you know you're going to have to sign in here and tell me. And Coralie, my dear, how I missed you as well. I should have brought along a bit of your story to read in your honour, but I forgot to do it. You have such a great, dramatic voice – I could just hear you in my head.
I brought the boy (because I bring him just about everywhere) and after a lot of drama, he read us a riddle from The Hobbit. He fidgeted a bit toward the end, but we'd been there for more than 4 hours, so fidgeting was allowed. You guys will be pleased to know his excellent behaviour was rewarded with pizza. 🙂
It was such fun to get together and share laughs and stories. Our hobbit Frodo wondered if we'd had some ale before she got there, we were so giggly. And when we got to the readings, for me what happened was quite unexpected. Emotions long … forgotten? … hidden? … anticipated and therefore overcome? … well, emotions long gone to someplace other, came up to the surface again. When Frodo read the prophetic poem that brought Boromir to the Council of Elrond, I got shivers; it hasn't happened for a long time. When Jo read the passage where Sam reflects upon the star he sees while in Mordor … I got that tight feeling in my throat that warns of imminent tears. And I almost didn't finish reading the last scene in the book because the emotions of it were at the surface.
It is such a great way to enjoy this work together and to find out how each person interprets the same words. And it's really wonderful to have friends who love the same thing, especially when you've grown up (like I did) concealing your love of Tolkien's work. It's a tremendous to share that passion and joy with others. I really felt that joy during the readings, especially during the Man in the Moon song!
It's very comforting to be with great friends like this. And I'm sure in years to come, we'll have more days like it, but I'll never forget this one. This was really a great day about fellowship and true enjoyment of one another. I guess I'm a bit on the solitary side, and so being with a group like this is always uplifting and a little amazing.
I often feel like Sam at the end of the book. A times, I just stare and stare out over the waters, waves moving with purposeful restlessness against each other under stars, the rest of the world waiting patiently for me to come back to it, like Merry and Pippin, a warm and comforting presence at my back. And I … I'm lost over the waves, with friends and a story that will never return. I have that heaviness of heart, like Sam still a little torn between those he has loved, the grandeur of that story and the absolute rightness of his place at home.
Well, we can still be of the story, although we aren't in the story. And the old stories, they don't really end, do they?
(Hehe Frodo, when I came here today, I realized that I should have known the poem. It's right here in my blog!!)