You can imagine what great pleasure it was to discover, when I was but a wee lad of 11 years or so, that I shared a birthday with the Dúnadan, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, whom I prefer to call Strider.
In retrospect I had a near idyllic childhood, with a clear stream and woods to roam. I had such a love for Tolkien then and my appreciation has only grown. In those wildlands, I was a borderman, with sword at hand, ready to defend the weak against the perilous monstrosities that made such back country their home.
Little has changed.
So here I am at 50 — a half-century old.
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.
I do so long to walk the wild road again. I suppose, on this day, I feel more akin to Bilbo Baggins as his end neared than to Elessar, the Elfstone.
“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed!” he snorted. “Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”
“I want to see mountains again, Gandalf – mountains; and then find somewhere where I can rest. In peace and quiet, without a lot of relatives prying around, and string of confounded visitors hanging on the bell. I might find somewhere where I can finish my book. I have thought of a nice ending for it: and he lived happily ever after to the end of his days.”
50 is not such a bad age to be. I’ve acquired a bit of wisdom and am still blessed with a wee bit of spring in my step. A very wee bit, but it’s there just the same.
I have been quite blessed. This past half century has been filled with good friends and good cheer and though I’ve said goodbye to some, I’ve said hello to many others. And as for family, well I could not have done better in that regard.
My wife is my heart and my son is my soul, they are my lodestone.
As I look up into the heavens, I see reflected back at me the sum of my adventures and I know in my heart of hearts, the journey has just begun.