I just saw a tree fall.
I was sitting in my house, contemplating the brevity of life and right before my eyes, my neighbors’ tree fell. It gracefully succumbed to the wind. It was silent. It was almost beautiful. It was shocking, but at the same time it seemed inevitable.
Robert Frost’s words instantly came to mind:
Nature’s first green is gold
The 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.
So why am I telling you this? Mostly just to write it down somewhere. To say it outloud. I saw a tree fall. I am 29 years old and I’m helplessly watching one of my best friends lose her husband to cancer. A guy I’ve known since I was 18. A guy I helplessly watched lose his own father to cancer. These people are beautiful. They are smart and funny and charismatic. They are good. Their marriage has been a golden age and a symbol of the idea that life, even when difficult, is worth living. So I’m all too aware as the leaves fall and the weather gets colder. Life gets windy. You grow up and bad things happen to good people. Trees that have stood for decades fall over before your eyes for no apparent reason. Nothing gold can stay.
What I’m learning is that the best memories in my life thus far, the times I cherish, have been seemingly insignificant moments that happened right under my nose without me realizing what they would become. I cherish the time Kevin and I went to Florida for Easter weekend. I was supposed to be on a pageant diet but I ditched the diet and Easter Mass so I could drink beer on the beach and eat guacamole with Kevin, Amanda and Joe. Kevin and I needed beach towels so we bought some in a souvenir shop next to a strip club. Joe had tried to be so prepared by making the food the night before but after hours in the fridge and a car ride to the beach, the guacamole had turned from green to brown. It looked disgusting. And he was so annoyed, but we laughed and ate every brown bite. The four of us “grown ups” spent Easter Sunday in Disneyworld. We rode rollercoasters and went to Epcot and drank “Around The World” staying just long enough for the fireworks. If that isn’t a metaphor for youth, I don’t know what is.
So nothing gold can stay. But I’m thankful for the memories and the friendships in my life because when it comes to them, I am rich beyond my wildest dreams.