If there has ever been a mind that wandered so purposefully and productively, it was the mind of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, scholar and professor of Old and Middle English and writer of “high fantasy” stories and novels, such as The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

A story about Tolkien goes that, whilst marking exam papers, he was confronted with a page left blank in a student’s answer-book. His mind wandered from the task at hand and he wrote on the blank page, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”.  From there, he wandered further into fantasy until he “discovered” what a hobbit was, and pieced together the epic tale of Bilbo Baggins. And so, The Hobbit was born.

The quote, “Not all those who wander are lost”, is part of a poem originally written by Bilbo, the main character from The Hobbit. Bilbo is describing Aragorn, the descendant of kings, and a king by birthright himself, who wanders unknown, unrecognized and unacknowledged, waiting for the right time to claim his throne;

“All that is gold does not glitter

Not all those who wander are lost

The tree that is old does not wither

Deep roots are not touched by the frost

From the ashes a fire shall be woken

A light from the shadows shall spring

Renewed will be blade that was broken

Crownless again shall be king.”

The message here is clear – even though our purpose isn’t obvious and to others we seem adrift and without direction, it doesn’t mean we’re lost, or off track. Our lack of direction may very well belie our deeper, more meaningful search or quest.

This quote, as well as and many other inspiring words, are available in Blue Turtles’ Poetic Pieces Collection. To receive a full catalogue, click here.

Happy wandering!

1 Comment for this entry

raspbery ketones
July 21st, 2013 on 8:53 am

Very fine post, thank you a ton for sharing. Do you have an RSS feed I can subscribe to?

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