Gratitude Day 1: Nothing Gold Can Stay

Middle Prong Little River, Tremont
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
© 2014 Kristina Plaas, All Rights Reserved
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.

Robert Frost, 1923

As a nature lover and photographer I eagerly await the first hints of buds emerging from the trees in early spring. I adore the bright, cheery green trees in the Smokies in April. That green evolves to a deep, velvety hue as summer progresses then, before you know it, hints of gold show up in early September. It's just a tease, of course, as the richest red and golds won't show up until late October. It's futile to wish those rich hues would remain. Fall always has it's way as wind, rain, and snow turn the golds to brown and down, down, down they come. Gone. The gold is gone. The leaves are gone, leaving only a skeleton of a tree behind. Almost empty, but not quite. Summer's day has turned to winter's night. Nothing gold can stay.

Two years ago I started this blog with the intent of expressing gratitude every day in November. Today I realize that I need to repeat this exercise, looking for all my blessings. It will be much harder this year as my gratitude finds it's ground not in happiness, but in pain. Three months ago my mother, the light of my life, suffered a heart attack after knee replacement surgery. She never recovered and died a few agonizing days later. My relatively healthy and able parent died, leaving me to care for my near invalid father. I'm grateful for the cherished time I have with my father, but the burden of caregiving is overwhelming. I miss my mother deeply. As Frost so eloquently put it, my "Eden sank to grief." 

I'm acutely aware of the impermanence of mortal life. Nothing in this world stays the same. It's an essential part of Heavenly Father's plan for His children. We must experience the lows to appreciate the highs, we must know love and connection to feel loss, we must endure winter to rejoice in spring. Nothing gold can stay. And because I love autumn's golds and spring's first hints of yellow-green, I am grateful. Because I know my family is a covenant, eternal family, I am grateful. Because I know that Heavenly Father knows me, loves, me and shares all my highs and lows, I am grateful. Grateful.


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