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Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

My title is taken from a longer quote from the book "The Fellowship of the Ring" by J. R. R. Tolkien. The entire quote goes like this:

“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.


"From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.”


I have verses from the Bible that are important to me, and I use them to guide my life, but this quote has also been influential to me. I love to explore nature and to learn from my discoveries. It has been a while since I read "The Hobbit" and the "Lord of the Rings," the trilogy in which "The Fellowship of the Ring" is the first volume, but I still remember the sense of adventure the books inspire.

Being a teacher for most of my adult life, summer was the only time I could entertain my "sense of adventure." Most of these adventures were simple and done around my house. Staying up late and star gazing, searching for where a box turtle might have laid her eggs, and, of course, looking for interesting rocks are still some of my favorite summer adventures. My summer adventures that took me away from home were filled with the same sense of simplicity. While hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, I was surrounded by unknown trees, songs of unfamiliar birds and smells of damp earth. Although it was summer, my friend and I hiked to the top of a mountain there and I wished I had brought a jacket! Canoeing thru the Boundary Waters area in northern Minnesota also brought many of the same sights, sounds, and smells of the Great Smokey Mountains as did hiking around the north shore of Lake Superior. Backpacking for five days thru Grand Gulch, Utah, was a much different environment but I still was surrounded by unknown trees, birds, and rocks. This summer, my great summer adventure will take me to Amsterdam and Iceland. For me, these adventures help to fulfill my passion for learning about nature. The first line of my quote says, "All that is gold does not glitter" and I understand that not everyone finds my kind of adventures exciting. Thank goodness for that or it would be very crowded on hiking trails! When I return home, even after a short, close to home, adventure, I think about all the bits and pieces of information that I discovered on the trip. This new learning will become a part of what I already knew on the subject and will encourage me to want to learn more about it. "The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost." These sentences from the quote say to me that I need to continue to learn and search for new subjects to add to my interests. In the past, I was not interested in growing cactuses and indoor succulents. I now have a window box full of different kinds of succulents and a special garden outside for cactuses that have been saved from getting run over by the lawnmower. It makes me happy to see a cactus that would have been chopped up by the mower blooming beautiful yellow flowers. My new "passion" now has me reading new subjects in gardening. The next lines from the quote are, "From the ashes a fire shall be woken, / A light from the shadows shall spring; / Renewed shall be blade that was broken, / The crownless again shall be king.” Although, a very simple explanation, I feel renewed in spirit by new knowledge that has added beauty to my world.


--Tina

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