FINDING TRUTH IN DIFFICULTY
In the seventh grade, I had the privilege of taking Speech 101 for a semester. My teacher, Mr. Casey Kindle, was my Dad’s fishing buddy, a long distance runner, coach, teacher and complete and total brainiac. I mean, what a combo of characteristics. He was, in fact, ALL that.
His classroom felt very academic in spite of the raucous group enrolled in his class. It was a combination of “Big Bang Theory” and, the movie, “Dangerous Minds (yes, I sure did take us back to the 90’s).” Lots of smart kids and lots of troubled kids learning to create compound and complex sentences using coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. He was absolutely brilliant at arming kids with formulas to write beyond a simple sentence. But, once in a while, he would sneak in something that pushed our young minds out of the box. For me, that day was when he asked us to break down the meaning of Robert Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I loved the rhythm of the poem and the reference to nature, but I could not, for the life of me, figure out what it meant. I would think, “But, surely something gold can stay. The hit show “Solid Gold” was on the air for eight seasons.” I would work on it, and I would talk to Mr. Kindle about it. And, he would say, “Keep at it. It will come.” I was probably somewhat irritated that he wouldn’t just give me the answer, but I was also eager to unlock the great poet’s code.
The next year, I had the opportunity to take Mr. Kindle’s class again as an elective. And, I did so with gladness. Academically, that was one of the best decisions I made in my young life. His teachings in that class gave me creative tools that I’m using to this very day (not to mention, this very blog). It was in my eighth grade year, that I finally grasped the meaning of the poem. I’d worked that poem front to back for more than a year, and finally I got it. The poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay,’ for me, without question, is one of the most poignant references to life. Take a read and see for yourself.
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,
Now dawn goes down each day.
Nothing gold can stay.
On one hand, we can be somewhat saddened by how quickly things change. On the other hand, we can rejoice in the evolution of everything. And, in knowing that, we can hold a deeper appreciation for all things at all times. I marvel at the gift this poem has been to me. In my eighth grade brains difficulty to grasp its meaning, eventually I found it’s truth. Friends, that truth has never left me.
A sunset quickly fades. A flower blossoms only a short period of time. Everything is fleeting. While we have it, let’s fully grasp it and not with our smartphones. But, with our eyes, ears, hearts and hands. Nothing, I mean, absolutely nothing can compete with the soul-FULL experience of living. May we all be present for it!
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