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Sabbath Day – Beren and Luthien

May 21, 2017

Thursday, May 18.

I am currently reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to my ten year old son. He knows the basic story from the 1980’s dramatized radio program (which we have listened to on many road trips), from the animated movies, and (alas) from the Peter Jackson films. We have also read sections before. But this is our first every word read straight through. What a ball. August is willing to forsake just about everything right now to make more time for reading – before school, after school, at bedtime. I’m having fun. 

Last night we finished the “Council of Elrond” chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring, and will move on tonight with the preparations for “The Journey South.” As the fellowship packs and prepares, I know the hobbits will have the chance to hear the entire Lay of Luthien in the Hall of Fire. So… I spent my day today reading the whole alliterative poem as it is published in the History of Middle Earth, Vol. 3. I did most of my reading outdoors, in parks and coffee shops, or on our balcony. I did so because I also know that Christopher Tolkien’s new Beren and Luthien will be published next week and wanted to be sure I had read every source for this tale before reading his rendition of the story. It’s telling forms the center of Tolkien’s Legendarium.


Today was also a good day for hope. I’ve needed some, what with the 24 hour horrors of the presidential news cycle and the need for resistance everywhere. This week our nation was expected to renege on commitments to combating climate change, which has now been delayed, and so the earth was much on my mind. I picked up a copy of Paul Hawkins new edited volume, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. Do yourself and favor and go pick it up. The premise of the book is that as we build a sustainable future we need to know not only what we are against, but what we are for. In coffee-table-book style, over 200 scientists, researchers and writers describe 100 ideas that promise ‘cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well-being’ for us all, plus another 20 whose time is just around the corner. Beautiful and inspiring. After a quick start, my plan is to read an idea a day for 100 days as a way of sustaining hope for a better future. 


  • The rest of my sabbath involved the usual visit to the nature center and an evening of reading with August. 
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