Her Hardest Hue to Hold

After exceedingly foofy and delicious cocktails and nibbles at No. 9 Park, Otis and I tripped happily out into the evening (still--to my tastes, at least--wonderfully warm) as my phone rang. It was DaveG, calling from my flat in San Francisco, where he was staying for the weekend while here for a wedding.

So the three of us strolled through the Common and into the Gardens, past the swan boats and the impossibly lush flowers and the grass an otherworldly shade of green, all of it bathed in a Golden Hour light so perfect it almost seemed fake.

Later in the evening, after picking up dinner and wine and consuming both on the roof of the boys' apartment, Otes and I watched the city sink into night (the moon full, the air humid) and had an extended, Pinot-fuelled discussion about memory and forgetting, about Buddhism's dictum that life is suffering and Emism's dictum that it can't possibly be (at least not always), about the way I stack my favorite memories and moments from the past so they're a solid force beneath and behind me when everything else seems to crumble. About how something as simple as the recollection of sitting at the hotel bar in Vancouver with Dave and Otes, drinking Cosmos with floating cranberries and eating far too many spiced almonds and talking about politics--about how this simple moment can be so many things at once: gone, ever-present, treasured, impossible to return to.

At length, when our livers cried uncle and my legs started to sport a lattice of mosquito bites and we couldn't reach any of the west coast friends we'd tried placing tipsy phone calls to, we went downstairs and to bed, another moment--a day full of moments--gone.

But then there was the next day, spent traipsing around the city in search of NPS Passport stamps. There was the sweetness of picking blueberries with Isabella at Twin Chimneys, of laughingly watch her eat two ripe berries for every half-green one she put in the basket. There was dinner on the river in Westerly with Mom, Dad, and Greg, and meeting baby Joseph for the first time, and sitting on the patio at Crispo with Ry and Amy while the city sky went dark and the lights came on around us. There was--as there always is--moment after moment after moment.

Robert Frost, in "Nothing Gold Can Stay," gets it half right:

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower,
But only so an hour.
The leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

But long after the golds and flowers and dawns are gone, there's something about them that sticks around. On my summer vacation, I let dozens of moments come and go. I can't ever have them back just as they were, but that isn't (never is) the point. I know where to find them when I need them.


sgazzetti said...

So, is it okay to like Bob Frost again? Cuz I thought that for a while there it was the poetic equivalent of shopping at Wal-Mart. Not that I follow that kind of fascist thinking when it comes to poetry.

I always liked "Birches" (in fact, it's one of the four poems in my wallet with pictures of my wife and son). It's pretty well unquotable, more like a (pinot-fueled?) drunken ramble, which you've got to get in its entirety, than a poem, but here goes:

"I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willingly misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better..."

But you're right, and so was Bob, about nothing green.

sgazzetti said...

Me again. Meant to add: now that you're back, I hope you'll eventually make your way over to www.isoglossia.com, where you featured prominently in yesterday's entry. Thought you might like to know.