Art and the Eternal

I Love "Tree and Leaf" by Tolkien, and I think it has had a profound effect on how I view the relationships among creation, human artistry, and God's work. I find Tolkien's notion of the eternal significance and persistence of what we create and love encouraging in the face of Postmodernity's corrosion of objective reality and its value. Read this entire work along with Tolkien's comments on "subcreation" found in "Tree and Leaf"--it's amazing!

"Niggle pushed open the gate, jumped on the bicycle, and went bowling downhill in the spring sunshine. Be­fore long he found that the path on which he had started had disappeared, and the bicycle was rolling along over a marvellous turf. It was green and close; and yet he could see every blade distinctly. He seemed to remember having seen or dreamed of that sweep of grass somewhere or other. The curves of the land were familiar somehow. Yes: the ground was becoming level, as it should, and now, of course, it was beginning to rise again. A great green shadow came between him and the sun. Niggle looked up, and fell off his bicycle.

Before him stood the Tree, his Tree, finished. If you could say that of a Tree that was alive, its leaves open­ing, its branches growing and bending in the wind that Niggle had so often felt or guessed, and had so often failed to catch. He gazed at the Tree, and slowly he lifted his arms and opened them wide.

'It's a gift!' he said. He was referring to his art, and also to the result; but he was using the word quite literally."

from "Leaf By Niggle"

by J.R.R. Tolkien
Ballantine Books, 1966

© 2018 by Randall Compton.