What a Beautiful Place

My favourite environment has been already described not once, but many times. It functions in the Bible, in the Hobbit, in Lord of the Rings – it’s a heaven.

Hidden, in a valley surrounded by mountains with an ancient virgin forest, untouched and unexplored by man, lays a stone villa. It has big halls, with no windows, that let the light breeze and the sunlight in at all times. It is two stories high, and on top there is a wall that functions for protection. From the yard in front of the building, you can see and hear the waterfall that comes pouring from the mountain on the East. It is lost in the branches of the trees, but if you walk a bit towards the little chapel, you can see the river that it creates. You have to walk on a small bridge that crosses the river, to get to the chapel. In it you will find stone etchings of the stories of heroes long dead, and an empty altar in the middle of the circular room. From there, the trees hide most of the villa and all of the benches laid out in the beginning of the forest, where the trees are not as tightly packed.

If you go back and start walking towards the West, with the villa on your left, you will soon start to sweat, as the elevation increases rapidly. In a hundred meters you will reach a junction of forest paths – one goes up towards the mountains, one deep into the forest, where you would need a light at any time of day, and one carries you by the side of the valley, behind the villa and further on even behind the chapel. If you take this road you will end up on the river side, and in an hour at the bottom of the waterfall.

In Tolkien’s Middle Earth a place similar to this is named Lothl√≥rien and it is the last place where the ancient race of the elves reside in the third age. Legolas describes it as “the fairest of all the dwellings of my people. there are no trees like the threes of that land. For in the autumn their leaves fall not, but turn to gold. not till the spring and the new green opens do they fall, and then the boughs are laden with yellow flowers; and the floor of the wood is golden, and golden is the roof, and its pillars are of silver, for the bark of the trees is smooth and grey” (Lord of the Rings).