Well, I’m Back!


Oh, those words! How they stir my heart each time! Today has been a day of awesome firsts and dreams come true. Today, I voted for only the second time in my life but for the first time in a presidential primary. If you’re wondering, I voted for Bernie Sanders, though, if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination, I will definitely turn out for her in November.

13139339_10153585710983133_4363788591045689663_nAfter voting for Bernie, I made my way to the local campaign offices for Hillary Clinton and hung out there for a while, with a singular purpose. Sean Astin was to be campaigning through our state today for Hillary and I have wanted to meet this extraordinary man for most of my life but especially the past sixteen years. Like most of my peers, I have grown up watching him on the silver screen, but it was his portrayal of Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the RIngs that has filled and stuck with my heart and soul. Sam is a character to whom I would dearly love to emulate in my lifetime. A dear friend calls me “her Samwise” and I strive every day to be worthy of that moniker.

After chatting with folks at the campaign headquarters and playing with my daughter for a little bit while we waited, Sean arrived with Senator Joe Donnelly and worked his way through the small waiting crowd, shaking hands, taking pictures, and signing autographs. He took a moment to laugh and proclaim, “I’m just going to dance with the kids,” and then proceed to do so with my three-year-old daughter and her new little friend who were bouncing around him little Tookish little hobbit children.

When it was finally my turn, I shook Sean’s hand, said how wonderful it was to meet him, and asked if he would sign my copy of Forgotten Leaves. I explained that the book contained my first academic publication, an essay on Tolkien’s heroes. I’m sure I babbled more than a bit as I tried to explain how I had examined all of Tolkien’s heroes with their differing characteristics, triumphs, and failures, and had found Samwise to be the one who 13173798_10153585711198133_4453832520624279180_nmost embodied the traits that Tolkien considered the embodiment of heroism: loving service, loyalty, devotion, and sacrifice. Being as self-deprecating as the character he so brilliantly and lovingly portrayed, this dear man signed my book “Sean Astin. “Sam”, 1 of the heroes”. Fittingly, he signed on the dedication page which simply says “To the Professor”, which I thought was amazingly appropriate.  After taking a photo with me, Sean pointed at my “I Voted” sticker and exclaimed, “At last! I’ve been all over this state today and this is the first one I’ve seen anyone actually wearing! Well done, you!” That sticker now resides in my journal where I will recount today in all my geeky joy with more than a few squees in bold letters on the page.

And did I mention that he tweeted back at me a little while ago? Squeeeeeee! It’s been a really, really good day! I have to smooch my hubby extra much to thank him for alerting me to all of this going on today so I could be a part of it.

Sean Astin tweeted me!! ^_^

 

Snyder, Melissa. “He Who Would Be First Must Be Last: Tolkien’s Heroism in Lord of the Rings.” Forgotten Leaves: Essays from a Smial. Eds. Jessica Burke and Anthony Burdge. Staten Island: Myth Ink Books, 2015. 7-28. Print. 

Store Link: http://mythinkbooks.storenvy.com/products/14307147-forgotten-leaves-essays from-a-smial

 

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The Silence of Winter


After taking out the trash this afternoon, I found myself just standing there in the falling snow, looking out at my backyard and the field and park beyond it. Snowflakes swirled around me in the wind, the world was white and clean, the trees reaching up their bare arms to a grey sky. Yes, it was cold; yes, it’s winter and dreary. But what I love about it was there. Indiana in the winter has this profound, beautiful silence, if you will allow yourself to be still enough to enjoy it.

The cold, clean scent of winter was refreshing. The silence was heartening. It was just a moment but one that I sorely needed.

Dreamt-of Days


These were the days I lived for as a girl. When  blanket of grey covered the skies and rain fell in rhythm or cacophony upon my rooftop. Such is today. I am sitting on my couch by the window with half of the curtain open, watching the world through  rain-spattered glass.  Autumnal trees wave in the wind, which elicits a shudder from my shutters now and again. The one difference between here in Indiana where I live now and where I grew up in the Cayman Islands is the clouds. Growing up, I never noticed the clouds move. I knew they did but I never witnessed it. Right now, I am watching the lower layer of Gandalf-grey clouds cross my windowpane and it looks like watching a time-lapse video, they are moving so quickly. There’s a grace and a beauty to it, however, that unquantifiable.

Days like this are some of my favorites. Days made for blankets, tea, a journal, a good book, candles, lamps off, window curtains open, and utter quiet in the house.  These are days made for peace. And we all know that peace plays very hard to get these days. In a world where we worry about our jobs, our finances, our spouses, our children, our health, our expectations, our dreams, as well as those of others, peace proves very elusive, doesn’t it? That is why I pray for days like these, days when peace becomes an almost tangible state-of-being. Days when, in the middle of all the busyness and madness of the rat race of life, nature itself manufactures a semblance of peace (ironically, amidst a weatherly tumult) to calm our nerves, soothe our aching, tired hearts, and give us just a moment or two of “ahhhhhh”. Even if it only lasts a little while.

HoosierLand in the Fall


I ask myself this all the time: WHY would I want to live anywhere other than Indiana? And it’s usually when I am driving out in the country somewhere. Right now, Indiana is ablaze with autumn. It is my husband’s favorite time of year and is fast beocming one of mine. Today was a sunny, cloudless, cool day and, as I drove to and from church, I just marveled once again at the beauty of the land around me. Sure, east central Indiana is as flat as a failed souffle but there’s no denying the sight of a forest on fire with autumn colors cresting the horizon of a harvested corn field. It’s a beauty like no other. There’s a scent coursing along the crispness in the air, like a sharp, sweet, cold apple. Cliche maybe but appropriate nonetheless.

It’s not just a smell but also a feeling. A stirring inside. Life is changing in the fall and I am beginning to find it more beautiful than ever before.