Essay by Simien

In 1971, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer working on a reforestation project in Ethiopia.. nbsp; Young and idealistic, I felt that by living and working with others who had different customs and different languages, I might view the world from a broader perspective. It was then that I first read The Lord of the Rings.

The book swept me up at a time when I was surround by an amazingly diverse landscape filled with people of many cultures.. nbsp; LOTR reflected much of my three-year journey of discovery. I saw the scouring of the land and its rebirth, felt the threats of war but hopes of peace, and knew the hardships, yet the joy of life.

Retuning home, I found a job with a Northwest Indian tribe whose land and way of life had been battered for over a century.. nbsp; For three decades I strived to help replenish the land and widen understanding of the natural world. But it may have cost me my most treasured thing - my family.

The recent film and a rereading of the book reminded me that sacrifice does come at a cost, but with love and the support of friends, one can continue.

16-May-02