Beautiful Tree of Life and Death: Or, Distracted by research notes

When I do research, I confess that I often jot down things that just appeal to me. Things that have no relevance whatsoever to what I’m supposed to be researching, but that could make a really cool story or “nugget.”

I’m supposed to be writing now, but I keep seeing out of the corner of my eye a part of the notes that I took when I was trying to find the right species for my paranormal creature (I came up with her abilities / what she is without having any formal research or prior mythology to start with).

Anyway, the distracting myth, which I think is really beautiful, is the Cedar of the End. This is an African myth that describes a massive tree where each leaf is large enough for an angel to sit on. Each of these leaves bears the name of an individual, and when a leaf falls to the ground, the angel of death finds the owner of the leaf and informs him that his time has come.

Isn’t that the most beautiful of myths? I found this tiny description in one of my favorite books, “The Dictionary of Mythology” by J.A. Coleman. Perhaps someday I’ll look it up again, research further to discover the entirety of the myth. Then again, perhaps not. Sometimes finding the whole myth proves disappointing, somehow dispelling the magic nugget of what you imagined it to be when you first discovered a brief note.

While I’m not quite sure how a cedar has leaves, per say, this may simply be a small detail – probably a different species variety than I’m most familiar with. But can’t you just see this beautiful, massive tree, with angels and other creatures checking on the leaves; perhaps even the health of the leave determines the health of the individual?

What if something were to happen to a branch? Would this manifest in the real world as a disaster, perhaps plague or flood? What would happen if something happened to the tree? Would this necessitate a correlating tragedy in the real world? How closely are the two connected?

What about you? What are some of your favorite myths? Do potential story nuggets distract you from getting your actual research (and sometimes your writing) done?

Okay. Better get back to fighting with the latest WIP. Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

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