Orion and I are well into Lord of the Rings now. Last night we began with Merry and Pippin caught fast in the roots of a most disagreeable willow tree and ended snug in the strange and wonderful home of the strange and wonderful Tom Bombadil. I've always been happy that his character wasn't portrayed in the movie, because I'm very attached to the vision of him created by the words. I like the Tom Bombadil I know. He's bright and magical with hints of darkness.
We follow a routine. Orion reads a bit first, then he settles down while I carry on. I've developed a real sense of when he's becoming sleepy. I adjust my cadence and tone, growing ever more soothing, with spaces between sentences, so that it's like seeing him off, walking with him just a bit into the edges of his sleep. After the rescue from the willow, our weary travelers trudged through the last and darkest part of the forest, to find themselves suddenly in sight of the bright windows of Tom's home.
They began to feel that all this country was unreal, and that they were stumbling through an ominous dream that led to no awakening.
The chapter resonates with the reality of traveling through deep darkness that seems never ending, then, at last, seeing a welcoming light. I know this, and so do you. I feel lucky indeed to share this sort of experience with hobbits. I should carry it in my pocket like a smooth little stone, so that next time I feel myself lost I'll be reminded that the light is there, I have but to find it, and that is but a matter of looking.