Leaf by Lei

"It all began with a leaf caught in the wind, and it became a tree; and the tree grew , sending out innumerable branches, and thrusting out  the most fantastic roots. Strange birds came and settled on the twigs and had to be attended to. Then all around the Tree , and behind it, through the gaps in the leaves and boughs, a country began to open out; and there were glimpses of a forest marching over the land, and mountains tipped with snow."
(J.R.R. Tolkien - Leaf By Niggle )
My favourite of all Tolkien's  books is, without doubt, 'Leaf by  Niggle'  which is  the most revealing thing Tolkien wrote about his own creative process. This amazing little tale  may come to us in the form of a story, but its deeper meaning are there ,and you can just see them  like we see the country Tolkien describe appearing behind his Tree.  Niggle is a painter, he likes to paint trees , but most of all leaves.

"He used to spend a long time on a single leaf, trying to catch its shape, and its sheen, and the glistening of dewdrops on its edges." 
(J.R.R. Tolkien - Leaf By Niggle )
Niggle spends hours, days, paint one single leaf to perfection, yet he also love to paint the whole Tree, the whole painting , if you like. For me Niggle and its leaf and Tree  represent  both  Tolkien own splendid picture of Middle-earth and  his perfectionism in creating it. 'Leaf of Niggle' tells of Tolkien's own creativity , the beauty of it , but also the struggles he was facing by creating such vast and  complicated  mythology , and how all this did affect his own life. But been a real hobbit ( and the greatest storyteller that ever lived ) he is choosing to write a lovely story about a leaf and a tree.

Once upon a time there  was once a little woman called Lei , who had a very  long journey to make. She  did not want to go, indeed the whole idea was distasteful  and scary to her; but she could not get out of it. She knew she would have to start some time, but he did not hurry with her preparations......
If I was to write a story about myself, I would  use this Tolkien's tale as a frame for it, because I can relate to Niggle, his creativity, his dreams, his struggles. Like Tolkien's niggle my own story  ( and painting ), the one I am writing every day of my life, is drifting  between fairy tale narrative, stream of consciousness, and allegory. It is not always easy to write and paint, and sometime it is  slightly painful. But it is beautiful , I hope, because it makes the soul and hobbit heart feel the love and tremble with life. 

  Where is spring hiding , behind a leaf or sumething  ?  Brrrr...


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