Ever since I read Robert Frost in Miss Jarman's 9th grade Enriched English class, I have been intrigued with this short poem:
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
I didn't think it was true--I was a firm believer in what is gold is pure and stays gold. At least I hoped for that.
I've changed my mind.
Now I agree with Frost. There's a realistic part of me that has learned with experience that nothing gold can stay--that the only constant is change. That doesn't mean there is no hope for pure gold. But I believe that the things of value--the gold, the relationships, the accomplishments, the beliefs and testimonies--those things we hold dear--require constant work and constant change.
I've also always thought spring was my favorite season. I've loved the new growth, the new life, nature's first golds and greens.
I've changed my mind.
I love fall. I LOVE fall in Virginia. And I think there's a gold in fall that Frost doesn't acknowledge in this poem. That first early gold of spring somehow filters to a magnificent, warming, invigorating, enlightening gold of fall. I've felt that as I've driven the roads of Virginia, as I've wandered my own tree-lined streets. My legs and pumping heart felt the gold of the leaves on my dark early morning run this morning--the golden trees of my Fairlington neighborhood literally lit my way in the gray mist. The golden leaves were both light and warm. And I loved them.
And what about the golden sunlight of a summer sunrise or sunset? What about the strange purple-gold of snowy winter nights?
There's a great tender mercy in a gold that doesn't stay gold all the time. Sometimes gold requires work and polish and exposure, and sometimes it requires waiting. Take these flowers. I went on a fall mum craze a couple of weeks ago. I needed to be surrounded by color and fall flowers, so I bought a big yellow one for my front porch, a smaller gold one for my coffee table, and another one for my back patio. Well, my living room mum did not do well. In a mad rush of preparing for Fall Festivus, and realizing that dead fall flowers did not communicate fall festivities, I switched out the patio flowers into the living room and threw my poor dying pot onto the patio. Imagine my delight the next afternoon when I saw my dying gold flowers thriving in the fresh air and fall sprinkles. The dear pot just needed its own space and some natural autumn assistance that I certainly couldn't give it on my own.
As much as I love fall, I know that every day more leaves are literally falling, and soon (although I thank God every day that seasons last so long here) the trees will be bare and vulnerable and you'll be able to see all that stuff behind them. I hate that part. And then even with the occasional delightful snow and frost storms here, it's a long, long wait for spring and that first golden green.
The great part is that it's a cycle. It's a pattern. It happens every time. Every time. While nothing gold can stay, while Eden is not--and cannot be--eternal, there is something past there. I'm a believer. It may be a different gold, but it's just as pure.