I sleep on the left side of the bed, preferring that because I am left handed, some would say left brained as well. A very few feet away from my pillow, inches really, was our master bedroom closet. It was a scrawny thing that was shared with my husband. There were sliding doors on this wee space, that would get hung up regularly on the track so they were left open, always. Often, perhaps weekly, I would wake up in the middle of the night shaking and frightened, telling my husband, well before he became The Financier of Fairegarden, that there was a man standing in the closet looking at me. The man was not threatening, he was not evil or scary, but he was green and covered in leaves. Always the same. He did not speak or move, he was simply there. In my closet. And so, many things were blamed on Leaf Man. Food left out of the refrigerator overnight, clothes not hung up or put into dressers, homework forgotten, lights left on were all the doings of Leaf Man.
It was in this first house that real gardening began. Not just pots of Philodendron and containers of Begonias or water filled jelly jars with Coleus cuttings in them, but actual seeds and plants placed in the ground, my ground. There were mature apple trees, a large crabapple, white birches and lilacs, and they all had leaves. Leaves were raked and piled on the vegetable patch to be burned and turned under. It was understandable to have dreams about leaves. Clothes hanging in a closet could be mistaken for a human figure by eyes blurry from through the night feedings of tiny babes.
The image of Leaf Man faded from view as we moved from state to state, house to house. The sleep was no longer interrupted by the benevolent figure covered in verdant raiment, peering out at me. But he is not forgotten. (The Wood Spirit who sees no evil, speaks no evil nor hears no evil was a Christmas gift from my boys Gardoctor and Brokenbeat. Thanks, my dears!)
The move to our present house and garden in Tennessee found us empty nesters, with no children living among us. The creation of a large garden on a steep slope continues to while away the hours. In this home and garden dwell descendents of the long ago figment of foliage. Sculptures and plaques adorn walls and plantings with likenesses of male and female faces surrounded with leaves. I am drawn to masks and faces, still and always. The tall stand of mature Loblolly pines and the presence of the fallen maple, Ferngully inhabit this place. Trees, woods, the forest hold the playful beings known by many names, the Green Men (and Women).
There is much lore and legend about the Green Man throughout history and in many cultures. There is a common thread of nature and rebirth, new beginning and spiritual contentment, being one with the Earth and everything in it that runs through the mythology. It seems true and right to me, as a gardener, to be surrounded with reminders of the power that dwells in us all. And that it is leafy green.
One of our earliest posts, back when the majority of comments were left by my family members, was written about these faces. You can read it by clicking
here-Faces In The Garden. There have been some additions to the collection since then, gifts and creations. Rather than copying the information from good old Wikipedia, click
here to learn more for yourselves about Leaf Man through the ages, if you are so inclined. He gets around.