Where there was green we now witness brilliance. Color floods our view yet we know this visual joy is a last burst; as Robert Frost foretells, “Nothing gold can stay.” All of a sudden, everything is changing, and the geese flying overhead let you know this with much certainty, for their particular honk grabs all our attention. Look up, look up, they call, we are on the move. Perhaps, they imply, you should be too?
Each mighty season bears its own distinct list of joys and tribulations. After a summer of deliciously long days and warm nights, come October, we bundle to face the autumn terrain. Fire colors abound. Ruby reds come first, followed by pumpkin orange, and lastly Frost’s gold, that wispy almost translucent foliage gracing the forest. A last shot of precious metal, a final goodbye.
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 stands in American poetry as an iconic New Englander, claimed by any number of states as their own. As you meander through sunny woods, along bike paths and rail trails, you can hear his iambic tetrameter lilting with the northern breeze. You can hear his sigh too. What is it about decisions that make us wrestle? That makes us ponder ‘what if’? Frost echoed the colossal and universal ‘what if’ in his poem”The Road Not Taken.”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
Frost is right: we don’t ever come back to our starting place. We plod along doing what we can or what we must while horizons and mountains beckon us to climb higher still. We are reminded to not second guess ourselves. To not regret. To not look back. To do what we must to avoid the fate of Lot’s wife, who was transformed into a pillar of salt when she made that foolish mistake. Instead, like the geese and all of nature changing around us, we must continue making our way along our chosen path. Life moves us on. I say, let’s see it through.