Sometimes when I’m sitting outside, and nature’s gold slips behind the clouds, there comes a sudden hush. No bird songs wrap the air. No frogs croak. No cicadas harmonize.
Such reminds me of my favorite Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”
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 was first introduced to this poem when Ponyboy Curtis read it in the teen novel The Outsiders. I identified so completely with its every word that I memorized it.
And Ponyboy Curtis is still one of my favorite literary characters of all time.
Growing up, I was Ponyboy Curtis. A sad girl trapped in the wrong world by circumstances. Hanging on to written words for salvation.
Ponyboy and Johnny Cade walked around town while the Socials drove Mustangs. Times were different when I was in school: the Gators (called that because of their Izod raiment) drove BMW’s and Alpha Romeos rather than Mustangs. Nevertheless, I thought that Mustangs were the car.
My favorite line of The Outsiders occurs when Johnny says to Pony, “Mustangs. They’re tuff.” I’m still a freak for Mustangs.
After studying Frost’s poem for a while, Johnny reveals his interpretation to Pony and tells Pony, “Stay gold.”
This is no easy task. When you know what it is to be gold, only then, you’re not. It’s impossible to be gold when you know what being gold is. This is the paradox hidden in Johnny’s advice to Pony.
Even so, Johnny believed that every day’s green begins anew as gold. So every day is a chance to see the gold again, even when you know it can’t stay.
I want to be the type of person who believes this, too. Like Johnny. But I need a little help.
Jean-Paul Sartre knocked my thick head when I read Nausea. (I still re-read it now and then when I feel myself slipping again.)
His Antoine reveals that moments are only moments, and time cannot be reversed. Though we cannot control the passage of time (or losing the gold), our perception can link past to present in the manner in which we choose. We can change nothing except our own perception. So in essence, we can stay gold if we perceive a moment as such. We control whether or not privileged situations become perfect moments. Perception.
As the breeze caressed my face on a hot summer’s evening, I looked up and saw the tawny face staring back at me from a distance. Would I have recognized this perfect moment without Jean-Paul, Robert, and S.E.? I wonder. Writers – they make being alive ok.
This is why I read what the writers have to say.
Doctors may save lives, but writers – they save souls.
I feel the need to take a break from the twenty-first century, my friends. I will be off-the-line for what remains of this swiftly passing summer. See you in another month or so. (Ok, maybe I’ll get on-the-line to peek at your life-affirming sites from time to time.) xo
Hope you and Norm did have a special anniversary…
Sending you hugs from a very hot and dry Georgia!
My daughter was caught up with the Outsiders, but alas, I haven’t read it. Stay gold Stacy and enjoy your summer. Will miss you.
No need to read that from other writers… guess we all have it already embedded into our souls! It is the secret to happiness, framing fond moments in our memory and by capturing on camera.
LOVE your first and last photo. Is that a majestic solitary oak to the right in your first photo? And what about that doe staring at you… Moments of happiness and you are fortunate to live in that little paradise you call HOME!
Yes, perception is everything, methinks. Oh, Stacy, I shall miss your summer soul! Nurture yourself well with the golds of each day as they fleetingly arise and fall away. Love you.
I love this post, Stacy – although I have not read this book (or the other that you mention), I can totally relate to how an author can reach right into our hearts and minds and stay there. It is a sharing of common ground, an understanding of the human spirit that gives some books that special quality that touches our souls. We can feel what the characters feel, and in that way we don’t seem so alone in our experiences. The poem is lovely and I can see how you would want to remember it word for word. I do believe that our thoughts and perceptions completely color our worlds, and that we have the power to change that perception if it is no longer working for us. It takes courage, insight and love of self to overcome unfortunate experiences so we can find that ‘gold’ within our hearts. Enjoy your break, I will miss you. I will also put those books on my reading list. A hug. xo Karen
I was so pleased to reach the end and know that you have discovered that you can stay gold. All of life is how we perceive it, and so complicated at times, that we do need to take a break. Perhaps that is what nature is doing sometimes, when the stillness occurs, she is renewing her soul, and becoming gold. Enjoy your summer break, and remember to be still, and listen, but most of all ~ feel. And the deer who looked at you, he recognised your soul, Stacy. Take care. ❤