Live out LOTR
Joe Clark ~~ Nov 19, 2005

Have you ever watched Lord of the Rings and thought, "I wish my life was exciting like that"? Have you ever considered that with some warm clothes, a crisp morning, an audio Bible, some Ronan Hardiman music, an MP3 player, a camera, a stick, and a sack of garbage, your dream could come true? That's what I discovered this morning.

It was 6:40 am. I was awake. (Yesssss.) I had made careful (late night) plans to get up and watch the sunrise this morning. The MP3 player was loaded. I was set. Sunrise was (roughly) 7:09 am.

My first stop was in the cemetery near my house. Just a few pre-sunrise shots. Nice.

Then I went to my real destination -- the trail parking lot near Tait Cummins. Last August or so I was out bike riding at sunrise, and I watched it come up just over the train tracks. It was cool, and I thought to myself, "I should come up here lots of mornings and see how the sun moves with the seasons." yeah... today was my first sunrise back there since then. And the sun had moved a lot.

Following my plan, when I first saw the sunrise, I listened to the song "Una Paloma Blanca." Some of the lyrics to that song are "When the sun shines on the mountain and the night is on the run; it's a new day it's a new way, and I fly up to the sun... over the mountains I fly, yes no one can take my freedom away." In elementary school we would do this little rhythmic movement called "tinikling" to the rhythm of that (and other) songs. Ever since, it's been in the back of my mind as one of those fun songs. I found it on itunes recently, so I don't have to just remember it in my mind anymore. Lately, I've deemed it the official Saturday morning song,'s just how I feel on a lot of Saturday mornings, free and with the chance to do whatever good I can find to do all day long. Yesssss.

After the Una Paloma Blanca joyousness, I listened to Norah Jones "Sunrise" song. It may not be quite as much of a fit, but, hey, the name of the song is "Sunrise" -- gotta fit somewhere in there, right?

Then I started walking down the trail. I turned to the audio Bible stuff, and listened to the last halfish of Hosea, and to Joel and Amos. Amos I listened to twice. It was the usual prophecy stuff, "You have left me and followed after your idolatrous hearts; judgment approaches." But, there was enough diversity in the reading this morning to keep my attention for the most part.

As I walked, I ventured down on the trail closer to the river than the paved trail takes you. What I discovered there was... acres and acres of land that I had known about for as long as I've been using the trail, but land that I've never really ventured out into the thick of. (I've been down the unpaved trail a couple times, but never stopped to "smell the roses" as they say.) So I had fun being a wanderer .. hobo .. hermit .. contemplative .. all those good things. I didn't have any particular topic on my mind, and I didn't try to have any great huge thoughts -- I was just enjoying the morning.

After the Bible reading, I started in with the Ronan music. And thus enters the epic language of LOTR (finally). Ronan is an Irish composer, and has had his compositions in things like "Lord of the Dance." A lot of it is very "epic" sounding music I think. It sometimes reminds me of Enya, but with more driving sound, more drums, a little faster rhythm. So, my favorite epic movie is Lord of the Rings (any of the 3). Thus, this became my epic morning.

So, as I walked along, I started seeing a few bits of trash along the trail, and I thought, "I should be a good trail user and pick up the litter." So, I thought about that on my epic morning, and then I found a big huge sack without any big huge holes in it. It was my, uh, ring..or..something. Then shortly after I picked up a dead stick, and used it to fish some of the litter off the ground. It was my sword. As the music drove on, I used the stick as well to "shake hands" with the branches of trees and bushes along the path. When the music reached crescendo, I at times rhythm-ed the stick in time with the music (like a composer), or swished it through the air as if it were an instrument or -- a sword, perhaps.

So in my quest to take the "ring" and "dispose" of it (get it?), I found a couple of great out-of-the-way natural places to sit, which were cool. I also saw a rock cliff looking thing that was close to the trail, but invisible unless you're looking at it from below (off the beaten path). Cool sights. And of course I saw lots of great scenery along the way.

Finally, as my journey neared its end, I threw my stick back into the creek..seemed fitting for such a natural traveling companion. Then I threw the garbage into my car trunk (I guess I should have thrown it into the fires of Mordor or something, but.. there wasn't a garbage can around).

So, all that to say... this just goes to show that if you have the right frame of mind, you can have your own personal epic adventures at little to no cost. The "Wild at Heart" principle looks different for different people. Some people climb rockfaces in Colorado. Some people flail sticks and listen to music by the river. :-) Either way works. Mine's just cheaper, and more repeatable. Is it any wonder that I am a fan of the trails around here?

Okay, thanks for reading about my epic morning. If you couldn't tell, it was a really cool time -- as time with God, as reliving childhood songs, as enjoying nature, as thinking about life.. all that kind of thing. You should all try it sometime. "The best things in life are free."