Nothing Orange can Stay

Our Jack-o-lantern hasn’t weathered the high desert heat very well and indeed the gourd has shrunken downward. It got me to thinking about beauty and aging and roses.

This post is from 2008 written just after Halloween had passed. I like the thought, it stands up with things I might write today. Enjoy.

My daughter got so excited the other night when I agreed to carve her pumpkin with her. She’s almost 4 and can’t really do anything with the knife and such but she loves sitting by me and pulling all the slimy seeds out. It is a really crisp feeling cutting the triangle eyes into the pumpkin. The mouth is always a bit awkward for me but it usually comes out fine in the end. When I was finished My daughter hugged the pumpkin. She was so thrilled to see it now had a face that we had created.

Today she picked up the pumpkin all sad and sad: “Look Daddy, it is smashed.”

Our Jack-o-lantern hasn’t weathered the high desert heat very well and indeed the gourd has shrunken downward. It got me to thinking about beauty and aging and roses. Why are freshly carved pumpkins so beautiful to kids and the adults when they carve them? Simple reason: they are only that way temporarily.

We marvel at roses in a similar way. Even looking at my daughter I realze she is so very beautiful partly because I know she herself in all her youthful charms will not stay. I think Robert Frost wrote it well when he said “Nothing gold can stay.”

The beauty of a pumpkin fades, as does a season of life. If we get to heaven, or whatever a handful of religions view as eternal paradise, how attractive could it be compared to mortal life? I recognize that sounds sacreligious to the faithful Christians out there but it bears asking. Maybe if we all revered this life a bit more it would make the hereafter better still … instead of revering the hereafter over the here and now.

My daughter’s pumpkin has faded but she’ll never forget the beauty of it when it was fresh. Can life be seen as a pumpkin we get to carve? I try to carve it well, with bravery.

Here’s the poem I referenced earlier.

Nothing Gold can Stay
by: Robert Frost

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.”

Author: Damien Riley

Damien Riley is a blogger, film reviewer, & podcaster who writes a column at RileyCentral.blog once a week. He has an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. He married a high-desert princess (now his queen). They have 3 children.

2 thoughts on “Nothing Orange can Stay”

  1. Your Jack-O-Lantern would last a while here in Chicago! It’s cold!!!! Great story and a great life analogy. This is normally my favorite holiday, but with my daughter in the hospital (yes, again!) it just doesn’t feel right this year. I haven’t even put out one decoration.

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