Would you know what I meant if I told you I live in a Hobbit house? Would you envision a little house tucked in among trees so dense that even the sun has to search it out? Would winding brick paths and flat steppingstones meander every which way across the back lawn, and would you see plaster elves and the like all but hidden beneath low-hanging shrubs and peeking out from between flowering plants?
Would lush green vines climb fences and arched trellises, and would there be a rock garden in a corner overseen by a benevolent cross-legged Buddha? Would you yearn to wile away an hour or two in the alcove where benches issue invitations and little tables wait to be spread with food and drink for your pleasure? If so then I invite you to step inside.
Did you bring the outside in with you? Do you feel what I mean? My Hobbit house is nice enough, but more cozy than stylish. No jarring jewel tones, but a palette of neutrals from cream to tan, not stimulating but soothing to the senses. No high vaulted ceilings, just the standard 8 feet seeming lower because — except for the kitchen and dinette — the walls and ceilings are painted a light salmon color throughout. No fashionably sleek hardwood floors, but the sort of carpet that warms the feet and the heart on cold mornings and caresses bare feet in the summer.
No heavy, elaborate draperies to impede the outside view of scampering squirrels and scolding blue jays, of blossoming trees or snow drifts in season. No formal ornate couch to discourage sitting, but a voluptuous sectional sofa persuading even the timid to burrow into its soft cushions and stay awhile.
The dinette beyond the French doors is a people-friendly sort of place meant to seat four but often expanding to seat twice as many. It’s close, but for people of like mind, crowding is good. The claustrophobic have a wall-size window to face, and beyond that a giant ivy-covered Oak tree to dispel any residual distress.
The walls and ceiling are painted a soothing pale aqua-green sort of Southwest color, and on the table are coffee and whatever there is to go with it whether tasty or not. It doesn’t matter when the conversation is lively and entertaining but never rude. The Hobbit house doesn’t tolerate dissension or those apt to bring it with them. Inside or outside, it’s the nurturing feel of the Hobbit house that makes it special.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Bilbo Baggins is a special kind of elf-like Middle Earth character — a hearth-and-home-loving Hobbit who reluctantly leaves what he loves behind when duty calls. “The Hobbit” was published in 1937. I read it in the mid ’70s and I’ve lived in a Hobbit house ever since.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.