Column: Nature's first hue is gold
The first hints of autumn are showing in Farmington. The breeze is crisp. A few of the trees are dipped in gold or crimson. In the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost wrote, "Nature's first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold." The fall sunrises are first tinged with gold, then the sky grows blue as the light changes. The first hue of autumn is gold, in the sunrise and the leaves. Then slowly the colors of crimson and orange take hold. Finally everything dwindles to the muted brown of late November.
Last weekend I attended wedding in a country church up north. As we drove up the highway towards the church, we passed a hayfield, a stand of trees, and suddenly, a white clapboard building with a steeple shining brilliantly in the early fall sun. We turned into the gravel drive, kicking a small plume of dust behind the tires.
The vestibule of the church was tiny, only large enough to accommodate two people, so family and friends waited outside on the concrete steps. The breeze was crisp enough to force the bridesmaids to slide wraps over their strapless dresses, but the sun was warm. Finally we filed in slowly. The ushers were clad in buttercup-colored button-down shirts to match the bridesmaids' gowns. Golden beams of early September sun filtered through the windows of the little church. Everyone was seated and the minister reminded us to turn our cell phones off.
The bridal party proceeded in slowly, deliberately, with a flaxen-haired flower girl leading the way, scattering crimson petals. Then we all rose and turned in unison, and there was the radiant bride on the arm of her father. The groom waited expectantly at the altar. The family and friends in the pews waited for the processional music to begin. A moment of silence hung, quivering, and then the bride took a step. The CD player never started, but the hushed processional was the most beautiful I have ever seen.
The minister read from 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13, "Now faith, hope, and love remain - these three. The greatest of these is love." The bride and groom were calm, the bride smiling softly. No fear, no tears of joy, just sure and steady happiness. The vows and a sweet kiss were exchanged, and suddenly a new family was standing before us. We saw the very first beginning of a marriage, the beginning of many years of calm, steady love. Then the CD player let forth a loud blurb of music, congratulating the bride and groom.
That evening, as we stood outside with a glass of punch at the reception, the golden late-summer sun faded into crimson and peach, then velvety black. Inside the hall, dozens of candles glowed around the cake table and a fire crackled in the stone hearth. The room was alive with golden light, filled with the chatter of happy family and friends. The bride and groom danced to Van Morrison. Frost may be right. Gold may be nature's hardest hue to keep. But the pure, golden warmth of the love we saw that wedding day will endure forever.