The first day of Spring came and went, drenched in a thick blanket of fresh fallen snow.
It was only the week before we were basking in warm days, a whole string of them, our ears filled with the sounds of melting snow and the drip, drip, drip of sap into the buckets, while brown patches of earth began to emerge.
We collected sweet sap all through that blissfully warm week, and through the pain of mid-week news that broke our hearts. A bright little light in our circle of friends had faded from the earth, leaving behind a deeply grieving community, a mother and father walking the most difficult path of letting go, a path my heart rebels against even imagining.
As the sap boiled, I watched it go from clear to golden, and then to the characteristic rich caramel brown, where it stayed as we waited for it to reach the perfect temperature. I noted how quickly the change occurred, from gold to brown. It looks like liquid sunshine for just a few minutes.
On Monday, my friend wrote that her son’s light had been so strong in life, that now he is gold. In the sunlight rippling on the water, in the return of every dawn, we can behold his brilliant golden light for just a few precious moments.
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.
And here is my liquid gold, now maple-y brown. I will always let the sweetness linger on my tongue, a reminder that nothing precious to us will stay forever. Every breath in and every breath out is an opportunity to honor the beauty of the present moment, because all we can truly hold onto is right now.