Brickebacken is on the southern edge of Örebro, so whenever we go into town we are heading north. It is also at a higher altitude than the rest of the city, which lies in something of a basin. There is a noticeable difference in the air when we come home; it seems clearer and fresher as we ascend the backe (hill), and looking over our shoulder toward the city the brownish haze which hangs above the houses is often visible.
Cycling up the hill is always hard work. Maria dreads it at the end of a long shift at the hospital. I find it a heavy chore when I cycle back from the big COOP supermarket where we do our weekly food shopping, the bicycle trailer laden down with 30 kg of provisions.
I am just back from the weekly shop. It is a beautiful clear day. Clear for Sweden that is: it is not raining! I toiled my way up the backe. Ahead I could see the sun, low above the southern horizon. Sun. South. Home. Thoughts flitted through my head. Thoughts of the sunny south. Spain. The Mediterranean. Tenerife. Africa. Australia. Dreaming.
I glanced back toward the city and beyond. The northern sky was grey. Arctic. Forests. Wilderness. Ice. Snow. Mysterious, beckoning, exciting. Adventure.
But not today. Thoughts of cosiness and steaming coffee filled my head. I am getting more like Bilbo Baggins every year.
“Is that The Mountain?” asked Bilbo in a solemn voice, looking at it with big round eyes. He had never seen a thing that looked so big before.
“Of course not!” said Balin. “That is only the beginning of the misty mountains, and we have got to get through, or over, or under those somehow, before we can come into Wilderland beyond. And it is a deal of a way even from the other side of them to the Lonely Mountain…”
“O!” said Bilbo, and just at that moment he felt more tired than he ever remembered feeling before. He was thinking once again of his comfortable chair before the fire in his favourite sitting-room in his hobbit hole, and of the kettle singing. Not for the last time!