The Green Man

Constructing a life was never easy.
The work of making the pieces fit
Was hard.
It had to be thought out,
Done right.
Relief ended most days:
Well done.
For now.

Everything changed late one afternoon.
Something drew him deep into the forest shadows.
Light and dark fragmented the forest floor,
Unmoving, as though awaiting a coming storm.
His eyes found it somehow
In the dark,
The seedling which called to him.
It barely stood in the shadow of a mighty oak,
Seeming to strain for the light beyond reach.
The frailty and the potential were evident to him.
He knew this seedling
And himself for the first time.
There was no turning back now.
He cared.

Though his fingers loosened the soil,
The uprooting left pieces behind.
He felt the tearing echo in his heart.
A single drop of water shook a tiny leaf.
It was not a rain drop he saw;
The storm was in the past now.

In that moment,
In the dark,
All his losses were clear.
Though it soiled his white shirt
He held the roots with both hands
Close to his heart.
Then his body moved
And his thoughts followed.
It was a kinder way.

. . .

In the center of his back yard
A sapling stands
For the memory of the seedling.
The Green Man has not forgotten.
His home is alive
With the frailty and potential
Of carefully tendered growth.
Green leaf oxygen factories
Cleanse and nourish the air:
A return on the quality of his care,
Elegantly evident reciprocity.
He serves what grows as it serves him.
He lives the natural way now,
Knows the cycles.
He is active when the time of dying comes:
Pruning what has outlived itself,
Feeding the soil with what once lived.
Nurturing new life with the old,
Providing for the seeds,
Attending the needs,
As life springs forth.
Again and again.
He knows the growing way;
Love gives life.

Allan Schnarr, M.Div., Ph.D.