The Power of Green
The Green Man and other Wonders
VISIONS OF GREEN
In an episode of the popular British television crime series New Tricks there is an episode featuring witchcraft and the importance of the Green Man. He brings about the renewal of the earth thus banishing winter and bringing on the spring.
The Green Man symbolizes the male component in nature. This is pagan stuff that is extremely old but still with us today. It dates back to pre-Christian times in Britain.
The British crime show Midsummer Murders also deals with nature, the supernatural and ancient beliefs that keep on keeping on.
In England, out of a strange combination of Paganism and Christianity, galloped the Green Knight.
The Green Knight's sacrifice resulted in winter giving way to spring. The dead season ended and the new season of growth, of greenness began.
The story of the Green Knight is more pagan than Christian. Even so, it was part of Medieval England which is said to have been Christian. It was developed at a time when those who practiced faiths that were not Christian could get into trouble with the law.
Just how Christian and how pagan was Medieval England? No one can be certain except to say there were pagan elements in many of the so-called Christian festivals.
Green is the color the Catholic Irish adopted when their language and customs were under threat from the English. It represented the emerald Isle - it represented Ireland.
In the world of Kermit the frog, one of the legendary Muppets, it isn't easy being green. Lots of really good things are green thus maybe making you not as unique as you might wish to be.
Green is also the color of nature when nature is most apparent. In a drought situation, it is true, you don't get to see a lot of green.
In the world of the costumed hero there has been a lot of green. There is, for example, the Green Lantern, the Green Arrow and the Green Hornet.
In the 1970s there was a series of DC comics featuring the Green Lantern and the Green Arrow which looked at pollution in the USA as well as the damning effects of drug abuse among the young. It was powerful stuff.
The Green Arrow was in the know and was teaching the more conservative Green Lantern that big business was not always good and not always law abiding. For DC Comics readers in the '70s green became very much the color of the 'save the earth' movement. Green Arrow cared about nature and got Green Lantern to care too.
Today there is a new costumed hero television series called Arrow. Why it wasn't simply called Green Arrow is a mystery. Even so, it is action packed with lots of gadgetry.
In Marvel Comics the Incredible Hulk you see a creature that was meant to be gray but swiftly became green. Sometimes hero and sometimes villain, the Hulk is a monster created when a scientist was exposed to unusual amounts of radiation. Thus playing around with forces you don't understand can have strange consequences.
In the world of the costumed villain there has also been a lot of green. Batman's foe the Riddler tends to wear green.
Poison Ivy, also a foe of Batman, loves green. She's also very much into plants and plant welfare.
The same can be said for Marvel Comics' villain the Plant-man.
Then there's Spider-man's number one foe, the Green Goblin.
The color green tends to go well with red hence Captain America's number one foe, the Red Skull, tends to wear green.
For some time now green kryptonite has menaced DC Comics greatest superhero, Superman.
Over the last two hundred years science has discovered what certain ancient people already knew at the dawn of time. Green is not just a color but a force to be reckoned with.
Green can sustain us or destroy us.
To battle against the green is to battle against ourselves with the inevitable result of absolute destruction. For many generations green has fired our imaginations. It has made our understanding of our planet and ourselves possible.
Many creatures we have come to love, such as tree frogs, are green.
Frogs come into our gardens after a heavy rain and, if they don't turn up, it can be a warning to us that something isn't quite right with our small part of the world.
In the 20th Century frog maps became popular. Any school kid can make one if he or she has a mind to do so. Just make a map of where frogs should be and where they are.
Frogs are better than canaries down a mine when it comes to working out how the environment is going.
If frogs are doing well in the local wet lands then the environment is generally doing well. Where frogs are dying or have disappeared then there may well be a problem with the environment that needs looking into.
It may not be easy being green. as Kermit the frog reminds us in a Muppet song but, in the long run, green frogs make great environmentalists. They also keep the insect population down.
At one time there was a great deal of energy put into clearing the land for farming. This meant chopping down lots of trees. A century's worth of this in New South Wales, Australia has led to forms of soil degradation such as a rising salt problem.
Without strong plants with deep roots holding everything in place you have salt coming to the surface. This leads to what were once green fields able to feed a nation going as dead as a dried up old sheep skull.
In the 1980s a program started up to reintroduce trees to where they were desperately needed.
Conservationists and farmers who were once bitter enemies got together to save what could be saved.
The work of replanting continues. The idea is to create a balance between the growing of cash crops and, at the same time, having enough trees around to make the future bright.
Recently, instead of a tombstone, people with some eye to the future have requested a tree instead to mark their passing.
Thus we may soon have a generation of green men and women making sure that spring will always come, that the land will always be fruitful.
The green of the wilderness once frightened our ancestors. From medieval times to well into the 19th Century, wilderness areas scared Europeans and some Americans. People tended to think villages, towns and cities were much safer places. Now there are parks where people go to enjoy the wilderness.
It was once thought that anything could happen in wild places such as forests and mountainous areas. The Christian preachers of the 19th Century were all for 'civilizing' the wilderness where this could be done. By civilizing, of course, what they meant was creating yet more villages, towns, and cities. This sort of thinking has subsided somewhat.
Politicians such as the GREENS in Australia, however, pretend to be on the side of the wilderness while at the same time plotting the creation of more towns and so less farmland and wilderness.
Places where houses and streets simply could not sprout up were once viewed as ungodly.
Witches were once expected to live in the wilderness along with goblins and elves. Fortunately modern science came along and dispelled all this nonsense.The wild places then could be seen as a place of natural beauty.
19th Century Romantics took to the wild places preferring untamed green to concrete and brick. Unlike 19th Century preachers they could see merit in wilderness and ugliness in smoke stacks.
By the end of the 19th Century there were parks in England, France, Australia and the USA where natural green could be celebrated.
Charles Darwin may not have started this revolution but he certainly contributed to it. He helped to make people aware that they are part of nature and not above it or beyond it.
Despite the best pagan efforts to get through to them, Christianity in general has only been in the business of seeing wild green as precious for a very short period of time.
Nevertheless it is in the Christian part of the world where conservation seems to be a force strong enough to be reckoned with.
In the pagan world green has always been something to celebrate.
In the story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, pagans tried to keep some of their old faith in nature and at the same time try to teach Christians something about the importance of green. Only in recent times, however, have Christians been in a listening mood.
Science tells us that photosynthesis is a necessary process if we are to survive.
Only green plants can accomplish photosynthesis. Hence green is good and continues to be good.
The destruction of great areas of forest in the Amazon region results in a great deal less photosynthesis taking place. What's more, plants that have not been properly analyzed by scientists are being made extinct.
For all we know, thanks to idiot farmers with too many children and not enough brains to avoid poverty, the very plants capable of curing cancer have already gone up in flames. In fact, overpopulation and poor husbandry of natural resources may in the end doom us all if we don't rein in the fools.
Green has also stood for youth and what we remember about being young as in the movie How Green was My Valley (1941) starring Maureen O'Hara set in a mining town in Wales. It has also stood as a symbol of Catholic Ireland.
USA bills are green and nothing but green which is very strange to an Australian. It is, however, strange but true. I suppose Americans do see the power of green, or the lack thereof, in their own money.
GREEN IN OUTER SPACE
SPACE AGE GREEN
Green has fired our imaginations to such an extent that when our fiction writers sent their minds into outer space the power and the prospects of green swiftly followed.
Many a bug eyed monster on a science fiction pulp magazine cover of the 1930s was green.
When the British television show Doctor Who went to color there were green monsters as well as noble green aliens.
In an episode of the American television show, Lost in Space, Doctor Smith was both seduced and menaced by a lovely green alien female.
In space our planet looks blue rather than green. Much of the water on earth is undrinkable unless we go to the expense of removing the salt.Natural fresh water, therefore, is a precious resource.
People living in the Punjab in India see this as being so and so did the Ancient Egyptians.
It has been theorized that there once was water on the planet Mars. The notion that the water may still be there but underground may have more to do with science fiction than fact but it is still worth contemplating.
In the film Total Recall (1990) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger Mars is transformed into a more life supporting planet via the bringing of underground water to the surface and into the sky.
Planets without water we know are dead planets. What about a moon or a planet that appears to be solid ice? Sure, it can't support life in its present state but what happens when the ice melts and it becomes either a water moon or a water planet? Would green life develop on a water moon or planet?
The more scientists look to the stars to find a planet similar to our own that can support life similar to our own the more they come to realize just how precious our world happens to be.
How life came to be here, especially the green, may be as close to a natural miracle as most scientists are willing to admit.
Certainly earth as it came to be now stands alone in our solar system as the only planet naturally capable of sustaining life as we know it. What's more, it may be the only planet naturally capable of sustaining life as we know it for many light years.
Is there the possibility of life on other planets? I would say yes.
Is there the possibility that we have been visited by aliens from other planets? I was say yes. Mind you, there is a difference between what is possible and what is probable.
THE PRAYING MANTIS
THE GREEN OF DARK FANTASY
In my novel, Desk Job, green takes on menace in the form of the praying mantis. She is a creature of primitive passion and her main objective is revenge. Her faithful companion is the dung beetle who is by no means her equal in anything.
In nature, green can be both constructive and destructive. In the office, green in the form of the praying mantis is definitely destructive. Unless you are well armored up or in some other way protected, you must look out for the approach of this green menace.
Desk Job has hawks that soar above the common mules. It also has butterflies that spend their time looking pretty and a caterpillar keen on dreaming his dreams and smoking his pipe in quiet contemplation.
There is also a wind witch. Ah, but making sure everyone obeys the rules you have your praying mantises. Best then to stick to the rules or pray you are not eventually picked out from the other mules, hawks, etc by those with the spiked grass colored forearms.
Desk Job by Rod Marsden
I hope you have enjoyed this exploration of green. I hope you have found something worthwhile to you in the journey.
More by this Author
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