Felix Culpa, the Fortunate Fall

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs 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

Let me say outright that I’m not going to pretend that my love of this poem originated in some lofty intellectual period of my adolescence, that where when other kids my age were loitering with intent and drinking cheap beer and Mad Dog 20/20, that I was closeted in a dusty old library, wearing a beret and pouring over tomes of the texts of ‘the greats’**.

Rather, I have to confess that this poem came into my life as a direct result of an unhealthy teenage obsession with Tom Cruise (Born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3rd 1969 in Syracuse, New York).  Some of you may remember that Tom starred (alongside a few other rising teenage stars – Rob Lowe, Emilio Esteves, Patrick Swayze) in the 1983 film ‘The Outsiders’.  Frost’s poem featured as the theme of preserving one’s innocence as long as possible, during Ralph Macchio’s death scene.  (Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.)

During a time in my life when I was trawling through television, music and literature trying to find things that MEAN SOMETHING, this struck a chord with me, and is still, decades later, always in my head at this time of year.

The woodlands (particularly beech woodlands like Merrions Wood and the Dingle) are a RIOT of colour.  Right now.  I can’t urge you enough to get out there and soak it in while you can.  Sometimes things are so beautiful it almost hurts, and English woodlands at this time of year can make me catch my breath.

**p.s. when proofreading this for me, my hubby said “but you WERE one of those weird teenagers in libraries reading ‘the greats’!”  I said “maybe, but they say never let the truth get in the way of a good story!”

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