The Green Man-Child

So much of what I have is broken

but, since I grew up with Bob Ross, I’ve come to see these imperfections as “happy accidents”. The fact that most people do not want broken things is what usually brings these pieces into my life.

This is how the mask of a child came to me.

This story extends from a previous post about Kuan Yin, Bring Her In . My clients were moving away and I was helping to get their garden ready for viewing.  They had some very nice pieces of garden art, but had decided to not take it with them to their new home in New Mexico. The feeling and style of their new home was too different from that of a Pacific Northwest shady bluff garden. Most pieces were being given to friends. The ones they saw as needing repair were headed to the curb to be put out with the trash. That is how I got Kuan Yin. When Teresa saw how happy I was with a statue that needed repair, she asked me if I might want a hanging pot that had broken as well. She just needed to dig it out of the garage and find all of the pieces.

I wasn’t as excited about the prospects of broken pottery.  I’m not much of a mender. I had recently gotten rid of boxes full of broken plates and mugs that I’d been saving for years. I had thought I’d eventually do something crafty with them, like a mosaic, but instead found that wonderful relief that comes when you finally just admit to yourself that it’s not ever going to happen.

I was preparing to turn it down when Teresa came out with the first piece. She began to explain that it had been a wedding present. My resolve slipped away. I’m oddly sentimental when it comes to “things”, even when it’s someone elses. I get attached to the emotion that surrounds an object.  I can only imagine my response was something like, “Oh wow, really?”

The first piece was large and seemed almost complete. Someone had turned a plaster cast of a child’s face into a hanging clay pot. My first reaction was that it was kind of a weird gift to give. Here is a mold of my child’s face. I thought you’d love to look at it… forever! My second reaction was, That’s not my kid. Why would I (or anyone else) want that? Teresa handed it off to me and went back into her garage to get what turned out to be quite a few smaller pieces. The original pot had been long and boat-like. It had fallen on a windy day with all of the damage occurring well past the face.

The face was very small and calm, and instead of hair, there were leaves.

It was impressive to even think about a small child sitting so still. Had they fallen asleep? Over the years I have wondered about who this child is or if it’s a boy or girl.  I even played with the idea of an ad in the paper or a flyer, “Do you know this child?” If your reading this and you know; please leave me a comment!

I never fixed the pot. The clay was so heavy that I thought it might just fall and break again. Instead I put it in the ground and planted ‘Cape Blanco’ Stonecrop sedum in and around it.

Asleep in the sedum.

I liked that the sedum reminded me of coral. It felt like I was underwater looking at a statue that had fallen and been buried with time. Over the years, the sedum would start to grow over it and I would lift it up to keep some of the face visible.

Remembering past conversations with my sister.

A couple of years ago, in late winter, I was on the phone with one of my sisters, Dawn. We were talking about holiday decorations and how nice it is to keep some up past the New Year. She started to tell me about Imbolc. It happens in the middle of winter, sometime around the beginning of February and marks the traditional start of Spring. It is the festival for the Goddess, Brigid. I knew my name, Bridget, was old but, hadn’t really thought about it’s origins. This is what you need sisters for; they always tell you something about yourself. She said I should have all holiday decorations from last year taken down by then otherwise they would drain energy away from the new year.

This conversation led to the topic of the Green Man.

You’ve heard of the Green Man though, right?

I don’t know why the name sounded scary. Maybe I sense something vague.

I don’t think so.

She tried to explain and it went something like this.

The festival of Green Man is celebrated at the same time as Imbolc. His image has shown up in many cultures across Europe and Asia (maybe other places, too, I don’t really know. See what I mean by vague!) of a man that has leaves and vines growing out of him. Most of the time you only see his face surrounded by leaves but, sometimes he is a full figure that is covered in leaves. It’s assumed that he represents spring and rebirth although no one knows for sure.

Oh yeah, I’ve seen him before! Sometimes his face hangs on garden walls or even as a part of a fountain with water running out of his mouth. I never knew his name.

Then it Dawned on me, “I have a Green Man… Child!”

All things old are new again.

I know it’s not spring. We’re almost to the Autumn Equinox. I can hardly wait! I’m so tired of working in the heat of the summer and this one is showing no signs of letting up. I’ve managed to fit in some time for my own garden, but even with that, I have had the blahs as I look out my kitchen window.  The sedum, that is so exciting when it blooms an intense yellow in the spring, sits gray for most of the year and once again has covered the face of the Green Child.

I decided to redo the whole bed.

I took out all of the sedum, keeping only what I could fit in a few pots, and filled the now empty space with a new Bird’s Nest Spruce.  I know this has got to be the worst time of year to start moving things around but, the impulse was just too strong!

What to do with the Green Man-Child?

True to its name, this is a child that will never grow up; but now, the sleepy feeling was gone. The time to awake was here.  I decided to move it over to a patch of Scottish Moss that was near some benches and position it so that it appeared to be shooting out of the ground.

Voila, Green at last!

Hover over or click on the pictures to read through the steps.

Click here to read the full Copyright Notice.

6 thoughts on “The Green Man-Child

  1. Your first sentence resonated with me…..we should compare notes or at least garages. btw Man child is lovely dressed in green moss.

Comments are closed.