During my walk this morning I was thinking of the opening lines to a novel that I’m working on, wondering if they would draw the reader into the story as they must, to entice the reader to continue reading. Then I began browsing through my memory of opening lines to books that I could recall off the top of my head. Of the several I remembered, my mind lingered upon the opening line from Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”.
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
Later in my walk, the sun, still low in the eastern sky, broke through the clouds and illuminated this massive, twisted trunk of a tree
As I took this picture, a loon wailed from across the lake and another line from The Hobbit leapt to mind:
“Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the key-hole.”
According to a fan site: Durin’s Day was a yearly event noted by the Dwarves, “when the last moon of Autumn and the sun are in the sky together” (i.e., until sunset) on first day of the dwarves’ New Year, which was “the first day of the last moon of Autumn on the threshold of Winter.”
I find it interesting that my experience is completely antipodal to this ~ we are still in the threshold of spring and it is the rising sun that illuminated this mysterious entryway, which does not at all promise the comforts of a Hobbit Hole:
As I studied this portal, one more scene from The Hobbit came to mind; that moment when Smaug’s eye opens and searches for the ‘burglar” Bilbo Baggins. The shape of the twisted trunk, and the scar in the bark, suggests a dragon rearing its head with the slit of an eye opening:
In this one formation, three scenes of the Hobbit are brought into one, a bird heralding the sun’s illumination of a hidden passageway that leads into a dragon’s lair, a hole in the ground where something dwells, and the waking of the dragon. Perhaps one need not wonder where this portal leads…. And, given the opposite nature of my experience to the “prophecy” that aids Bilbo, this suggests that it is not a hostile, but a helpful dragon that awaits on the other side of this gateway.