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Friday
Oct042013

A Day in the Shire

 Today, Jasper and I spent the better part of the morning and afternoon reading The Hobbit in a redwood ring in the forest near our home. I suspected that the combination of Tolkien's spell binding descriptive writing and the evocative landscape of the forest would create a perfect literary moment.Thankfully, I was right this time. Certainly, parenting requires much letting go of the concept that your child will love everything you love. More than wanting to create a miniature version of oneself is the desire to have something in common. Goodness knows I am appalled at how much this kid loves math.Only kidding. To be more precise, I stand in awe as someone who does not find numbers fascinating. It has helped me grok how different our minds work and try to respect these differences.

 In the world of reading great fiction,however, I could not help but long to share what was always a peak experience for me in my own childhood. The pairing of a good book and a peaceful place in nature was the recipe for being transported out of my own life and into other worlds. I was a voracious reader and I spent most days at school dreaming of the moment I could go home and read whatever fiction I was currently absorbed in. I usually had a favorite tree whose branches would allow for hours of sitting and reading.

 Which brings me back to today in the forest with a picnic basket of snacks (an utter necessity when reading about Hobbits) and one of my favorite books.Aside from the gorgeous writing and epic dimensions of all Tolkien's work, I love The Hobbit because reading it gives me courage. If a comfort loving hobbit can go on a grand adventure, then I certainly can. I could tell as I read that Jasper was feeling the same way.Six years old seems a good time to realize that simply being scared does not mean you are not brave.What matters is just that you push onward. Actually, 35 years old might be a grand time for a refresher course in bravery!

 So I read until my voice was hoarse and could not go on without tea. After a discussion about whether Jasper may have "a little bit of hobbit" in him due to his own leathery feet,  Jasper suggested that we make models of Hobbit homes using the woodland debris around us.We spent an hour perfecting our little moss and bark homes. In the end, I think it was a most satisfying experience for the both of us. Not that we are at the end. Bilbo has miles and miles to go before we are on to the next book.

Jasper's listening perch

Jasper 's Hobbit Home included a chimney with moss smoke!

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