Since this will be my last blog post before Christmas, I thought I’d round off the year with a few final words. And, since I’m ending 2012 in a Tolkien kind of mood, what better words to use than the ones at the end of The Lord of the Rings:
‘”Well, I’m back,” he said.’
They’re the words Sam Gamgee says to his wife Rose on his return to Hobbiton, after waving off Frodo, Gandalf and the elves on their final voyage into the west. As last words go they’re hard to beat. They look great on the page, Sean Astin did a fine job of delivering them at the end of Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films in 2003, and Bill Nighy did an even better one when he played Sam in the BBC Radio 4 dramatisation way back in 1981.
‘What’s all this got to do with Christmas?’ I hear you ask.
Simply this. Much as I’m looking forward to celebrating the season, eating and drinking more than my ageing body would like me to and watching old movies and festive trash on the TV, what I’m looking forward to most is simply closing my door on the rest of the world and letting out a long, contented sigh.
Not that it’s been a bad year. It hasn’t. For one thing, I haven’t had to battle orcs or trek across Mordor. Still, like most years, 2012 has been an adventure packed to the rafters with joy and sadness, triumph and failure, fellowship and solitude. That’s how it’s been for me. I suspect it’s been much the same for you too.
Which is why I’m glad to be back. Years are circles, I think, and I’m happy that this one’s turned all the way around, bringing me back to where I started. Back home, behind my little round door, back to the warm place where my loved ones are. I hope that you have a place like that, and that you get back to it before the year is out.
As for next year, and the next part of the journey, well, I’ll let Tolkien set the mood for that too, with this hobbit song from the opening chapters of The Lord of the Rings:
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
Quoted text is copyright © The Trustees of The J.R.R.Tolkien 1967 Settlement 1954, 1966