Saturday, February 28, 2009

Beginning of the Journey

This blog has been a long time in coming. I have read the Hobbit but not the Lord of the Rings series. We watched the Hobbit animation as kids (god, that music was horrible). But I fell in love with LOTR movies directed by Peter Jackson for the obvious reasons that they were well done works of art from the visuals to the soundtrack. I am obsessed with the concept of middle earth not because I want to dress like a hobbit or an elf on the weekends or because I want to lose myself in the fantasy world "I belong in" but because every single piece of that movie is a direct inspiration from an already existing culture. Right away I could almost step into the world of the Shire that Gandalf rode into. The grass was shiny and green and small insects flitted back and forth between the fields and the forests. Patch works of glittering sunshine are strewn about the forest floors. Thick green leaves and fat healthy fruits and vegetables positively burst from every corner of land. This was not only the Shire. These were memories of where I grew up. I was seeing all the touched up carefully rendered images of a movie but from experience I could smell the sweetness of hay and remember the shifting feel of a warm breeze.
Other things that I reveled in experiencing were treats of our past cultures. I am glad that the movie series makers didn't try to reinvent the wheel and used imagery that echoes from ancient civilizations to create a sense of grandeur. Examples are the great hall of the Steward of Minas Tirith (Mosque of Cordoba, Spain), the banners and architecture of Rohan (a mix of Celtic and Chinese aesthetic), and accouterments of the Elves (a heavy blend of medieval Europe and the Art Nouveau movement) just to name a few.
I have to say one of my favorite scenes is Gandalf and Bilbo in the kitchen of Bilbo's house. I remember from reading the Hobbit that when Gandalf first came to visit with the dwarves that they had cleaned out Bilbo's stock of almost everything in his pantry. There was a list of cakes, breads, jams, meats and other stored beverages. Nothing fascinates me more than the way humans used to store their food before the industrial revolution. Nothing is more rewarding to me than experiencing it for myself. Though I don't do it often, I love guests. When someone comes over to the house, southern tradition mandates that you offer the person a drink or snack.....a meal if you like them :)! Producing a box of crackers, some cheese from the package, and a glass of wine from the store is great but if you can produce a loaf from your counter top, a cheese from the goat or cow in the corner of your field, and a bottle of blackberry wine from last years briars....THAT is REALLY something spectacular. I am proud of things that I am able to make and sharing them with friends is an even bigger treat! I was so in love with Bilbo's kitchen with its various herbs, pots, and iron kettle in the fire place! I also love the old worn wooden table they sit at. I grew up in the country and remember the stout butcher block tables in my grandmother's house and at our general store. They were knurled cranky pieces with massive iron bolts holding them together. When you were done butchering meat on it you scrubbed it down with a large brush with steel slats instead of wires for bristles and boiling water. The result was a soft wooden work surface that really showed the progress of time.
I digress, I look around at my current life and decided to make changes. Some changes will be easy and some hard but I figure if I make small steps one after another my life experiences will be driven to where I want them to be! This blog is dedicated to documenting my journey to preserve and renew a way of life I remember and to wrap it in the aesthetic that l fell in love with!

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