A quick look outside the window tells me that the hour has come, and I must leave. Before the sun is high overhead and it gets too hot. Before it gets too late and I change my mind. One last look around to see if I forgot anything – stove off, mittens packed, bed sheets neatly tucked into the corners – and I walk out of my circular door, away from my hobbit house.
For too long now, I have snuggled cozily into my daily routine, filled with warm and wicked cookies that would come hot and tempting out of the oven, and fluffy dreams that draped little knit blankets around my steady-beating heart. My adventures existed between the covers of well-loved books, and there, my fearless heart pounded fiercely to the beat of dragon wings and the clash of wands.
But even such splendid tales cannot quell the voice inside – the soft-spoken but firm, the quiet but powerful, the gentle but unrelenting voice inside my heart – that yearns for the chase. The voice that has been by my side, hand in hand, for years now. The voice that I somehow managed to coax into the dark corner by telling her it was only a game of hide-and-seek, and it was her turn to close her eyes and count to ten, and it was I who silently locked the door behind me as I tiptoed out and away.
Cookies and books and cozy beds are all wonderful things, but even they can’t replace the things that are meant to be and the things that need to be done. My adventure has come to call every year, and I was always too cautious, too paranoid, and too slow to hear the knocking on the door and realize what it was, and I was always too late, as I grabbed my coat and dashed out, getting only as far as the gate permitted before it was gone, and I, looking both ways, did not know which way she went.
If years of baking cookies has taught me anything, it’s that you have to take matters into your own two chocolate-stained hands. Soft, chewy cookies with a thin edge of crisp don’t happen just because. As much as we hope, they don’t happen because you thought them up. You have to mix and roll them and nudge them into the oven before they could magically make smiles and fuzzy feelings appear.
I will no longer wait for my adventure to come traipsing up my front steps. My bag is packed, my map is rolled up in my back pocket, and I am out the door, ready to look for her. No longer the other way around.
And in case you were wondering, yes, I brought along freshly baked cookies for the journey ahead.