Tourist trap. Fun but just fantasy. I heard plenty of reasons not to go. I didn’t listen. Honestly, I had to stand in front of the door at Bag End and see how tall I was. Silly? Perhaps. Necessary? Absolutely.
Yes, The Shire (“Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” for those not down with the Middle Earth lingo) called me to come play. I’ll admit that several hours there and back from Auckland had the withering remnants of my type A personality shifting in my bus seat. However, being likened to Galadriel (generous indeed) when I stepped off the bus didn’t hurt my thirst for adventure.
Hobbit holes, tiny gardens, sweeping landscapes without the mar of civilization (e.g., telephone poles, roads, airplanes) creeping in was like being transported back into the books and the innocent discovery of my childhood. I sized up the doors, marveled at the craftsmanship and pretended for a bit that I was a player in the story. Ok, no big ears, hairy feet or second breakfast, but I did sit for a spell at the Green Dragon, stand at the foot of Bag End and examine the tree meticulously glued together leaf by leaf just for a few seconds of film.
What did this journey teach me? Enjoy the thrill of fantasy. It inspires dreams, gives life to hope and helps us remember that the business of life is not always as serious as we believe it to be. For instance, our firsts (i.e., first swim, first plane ride, first time jumping out of a plane . . . ok, maybe that’s me) can be rekindled with delight anew as we embrace the splendor over and over again, if we let go of the perception of it being commonplace and soak it into our senses. I still cry at the sight of the sea—moves me every time.
Exchange fret for fantasy here and there. You may discover that your path has more turns than the Shire and more magic than you realized.
For my full trip to the Shire, visit the Photo Galleries page and scroll down.