“What do you know about the Green Man?”

Jim isn't pagan, but his husband, who is, told him that I was the one to talk to. In my pagan arrogance, I could understand why he would be interested in the Green Man. What I couldn't understand was why he should be so interested.

I rattled on for a while about late Roman Bacchic motifs and medieval sculpture, clearly missing the point entirely. Finally I trailed off and asked the question I should have asked first.

“Why do you ask?” I asked him. Thank Goddess.

He was young, he was in love, it was his first relationship. When it ended, it was the end of the world. He didn't go out. He didn't eat. He didn't bathe or shave. The apartment was a mess. All the plants died. He ate a bottle of pills and drank a bottle of whiskey. He lay down on the bed to die.

 

The sound out on the balcony made him open his eyes. The door opened and a man came in, looking directly at him. He was beautiful. He was completely naked. He was green, all over.

What happened next, Jim didn't tell, which is only right. At the heart of mystery lies silence.

But as the Man left, he turned for one final look. Eyes meet, eyes part. Tenderly, sorrowfully, he stroked one of the dead plants beside the door. Then he went back out onto the balcony and was gone.

Jim sat up and began to vomit. When his stomach was empty, he lay down and slept.

He woke up the next morning in a reeking pool. He showered, he shaved, he changed the bed. He ate something. He began once again the long, hard process of life.

Of all his plants, only the one that the Green Man had touched survived. Did I want to see it?

Philodrendrons are hardy plants, it's true.

But I've never seen one like this before, a plant like living jade: thick, dense, meaty leaves, stems practically throbbing to restrain the juice within.

We're sunk deep in winter now, half asleep with cold. Spring, so far off, seems like a dream.

O Leafy One, we long for your touch.  From the heart of winter, we call to you, O Green: come, come rouse us from our torpor with a rustling kiss.