I don’t know how many times I’ve read these books. I know the first time was in 1967. I read it in the hospital after my spine was fused and after I decided not to die. I was in the hospital for five months and not allowed out of bed at all for any reason. That is a lot of time in bed and after getting home, it was a very long recovery.
It was more than a year before all the plaster and braces were removed and months more before I could stand upright for more than a few minutes at a time. But I was young and after a while, I was as normal as I would ever get. I had always been a voracious reader, but I had never read any science fiction. By the time I got out of the hospital, I had read every sci-fi book anyone could find for me, as well as Lord of the Rings. Twice. You have to read it twice. It takes that long to absorb it. Really, it takes even more readings than that. There’s so much to it. Moreover, each time you read it, it means something different than it did the time before.
I had crates of books to take home with me. I think I left most of them with the hospital. TV wasn’t very good back then and a lot of people needed something to read.
As I am now in the middle of “The Two Towers, ” deep in the syntax of J.R.R. Tolkien as the peoples of Middle Earth fight the encroaching darkness.
Speaking of branches, the Ents have taken a stand against Saruman. This is one of my favorite parts of the books and as far as I am concerned, I live amongst my Ents. I often talk to my trees because if they are Entish, they are listening.
I’ve passed the battle of Helm’s Deep when Theoden asks Gandalf if they can get back to the life they knew before all this ugliness. Gandalf says no because evil leaves traces. You fight it, but even if you win, remnants of that evil are always with you.
“But what about the peoples of Middle Earth? Will we all vanish?”
Gandalf says “Perhaps. Sometimes that’s the price we pay.” This isn’t literally what they said, but close enough.
These days, I wonder if all the people of modern earth will vanish too and that will be the price we pay. I can’t say we don’t deserve it. As a species, we’ve done terrible things to our earth. We have a long, hard road ahead to fix it, which I sure do hope we do soon.
Will the evil of these days cause us to vanish? I have to admit, I never imagined I was living in evil times. I knew there were bad people — far too many bad people — but I thought most of us were basically decent people, good people. That our government would always stand up for us ahead of their personal agendas. And yet, here we are.
I still hope it somehow gets better and I really hope that Australia stops burning and the sea recovers. That Autumn returns and the seasons take their rightful place as the world rolls around the sun.