Middle-earth Revisited Another version....

Everyone of us hobbits had to carry a ring around our necks. It weighed us down through our lives, muddied our thoughts, weakened our bodies to death hoping that one day we were to be freed. And some of us were called to carry our personal ring up Mount Doom and throw it into its depths.

It was, indeed, a struggle to get rid of it. The ring was embedded in our hearts and souls and minds and thoughts. But we did. We threw it away.

The life-long weakness remained though. The yearning for its false comforts left traces in our hearts. But such solace we received by the elves sustained us.

We ate lembas bread through the days until our departure; we listened to and sang their songs in the glades of Lothlorien; in Rivendall, we researched and charted the paths outside the ring; we preserved the wisdom of the elves; transcribed their music; we wrote our memoirs; we honoured our Lady Elbereth Githoniel and wore her phial round our necks; and yearned for the promises of Iluvatar.

And then we finally were called to the Grey Havens and off to the West Isles we went to wait for better days to come.

The Shire did not survive. In the next Age, the world of Men destroyed Hobbiton as they destroyed everything they touched. The King did not return.

Then, after another long Age, we returned. Tom Bombadill and Roseberry met us at the dock, and escorted us to the New King.

Gone was every trace of the past. The Misty Mountains had become gentle hills. The Great Forest, now of gentle wide-spanning branches, had spread right across the earth, with glades of the gold and silver trees of Lothlorien separated with lush pastureland. As we walked, time and space seemed to slow down. Distances seemed short and yet expansive. Days seemed like hours yet timeless. We felt no tiredness, no hunger, no thirst. We seemed to fly along the ground.

The forest trees moved apart as if to welcome us. The Ents had met their wives and the thrumming of their joy echoed in the forest among the lilt of Elvish song.

We could see others in the far distance in front and behind us making their skipping way on the same journey.

At last we reached the land of Gondor, or where it used to be. And there behold was a new City: a city of golden columns and towers reaching up to the sky. Trumpets welcomed us as we hurried to the gates of the City.

And there: a huge mass of hobbits, elves and men gathered with one joyful voice of expectation.

And there he stood on the dais: the King, glowing in white and shimmering behind him the High Queen of Heaven: Elbereth-Githoniel. And above, the Valar renewed their lost song.

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