15 years.
15 years ago I was finishing my first semester of undergrad. 15 years ago I was diving very deeply into subjects that would shape how I view the world and bring me untold fulfillment. 15 years ago I was just barely re-kindling a love for reading that had survived as the dimmest of embers. But something even more significant was happening.
15 years ago I reconnected with Dante de Leon and Mario Moonboots after a couple of turbulent high school years (well, it was the summer prior), and I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time.
I couldn’t finish Fellowship in time for the film’s release (15 years ago today), but was able to finish the others shortly thereafter. Trailers had sparked my curiosity and prompted me to dive into a series I had only ever wondered about when I was younger. One trailer in particular – the one that focused on the scene with the Ring Wraith nearly catching the hobbits within the hollow created by the roots of a tree – captured my imagination so completely that I bolted to the closest Barnes & Noble I could find.
Perhaps most memorable for me was the midnight release of the film. I was introduced to Slipknot on the car ride there, and alongside my brothers Mario and Dante I witnessed the beginning of a beautifully interpreted film trilogy. The surge of energy coursing through me upon leaving the theatre was electric, and I was unable to fall asleep. My shift at the Bagel Express would begin within hours anyway, so they stayed awake with me until I had to leave. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world.
Reading the books was equally memorable, as I would make it a point to immerse my every sense in the world of Tolkien, reading the nighttime scenes after dark, and usually by candlelight. As much I wanted to abandon all other activities and focus on the story, I patiently waited to set the ambiance, sometimes even taking the novels into Kendall Indian Hammocks Park to simulate walking around with the fellowship. I don’t think I can say enough about how much these novels and films inspired me, and I’m always happy to share a conversation about them over a delicious spread of cheeses, olives, breads, and other finger foods, and of course accompanied by a delicious red wine or a fine pint of ale.
And now, to bring it full circle, my intelligent, beautiful, creative wife Ashley had “One ring to bind them” inscribed within my wedding ring. Perfection.
#thelordoftherings #thefellowshipoftherings #15years #fellowship15

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