Each morning after my meditation, I step out onto my deck and breathe in the green of leaves and grass. I survey my tiny dominion of the back yard and listen to what the plants have to say, mostly a hymn of reassurance that the cycles spin on, that quiet pulsing music of photosynthesis and growth and decay, of light and moisture, freely available for our listening pleasure. The blue of sky and water has its own kind of comfort and soothing message, but the green of grass and the trees outside my window offer a happiness that helps open me to the virtues of each day.
Other greens enliven my dinner table— my new friends of kale and arugula, the mix of mustard and spinach and chard, the old reliable lettuces and their new baby spring mix varieties, the pale greens of celery and cabbage, the sturdy zucchinis and double greens (outer and inner) of cucumber, the pungent cilantro. And then the zesty green of limes, the unripe green bananas, the skin of juicy mangoes, the rind of summer watermelons and then the little green apples that Burt Bacharach put into song and Glen Campbell sang. All those greens reciting the poetry of health and vitamins and roughage.
And then, of course, the Christmas tree and the wreath and the decorative greens and the medley of pines and cypresses and firs in the forest. Green is good and joyous and festive, equally at home in summer grass and winter trees.
But green is not all goodness. Why are we green with envy and why is a jealousy a green-eyed monster? Is envy green because “the grass is always greener in our neighbor’s yard?” Is it because we envy plants their equanimity and simple lives? And who decided to make money, that mischievous masher of men’s souls, green? Is it because money, properly used, is simply the gateway to both survival and following one’s bliss? Is it a reminder to remember money as means, not an end, a beneficent green that allows one to enjoy life’s simply pleasures and opens the door to generosity? Would that it were so!
Which kind of green are you following? A worthy question for the season.