For Christmas 2013, one of my fellow writer friends, the amazing Katherine, got me a present that I’ve cherished ever since. She ordered bracelets for me and my other two friends that had a quote on them that was important to us. Mine says, “I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good.” I wear it every day to remind myself that intentions matter. The fact that it’s very seldom I’m actually up to no good is irrelevant. It makes me think of the Weasley twins and that’s a great feeling during a slow work day.
I’m a terrible friend and missed Katherine’s birthday. And my friend Sonia’s birthday. I’m going to make the excuse that both are very close to mine, but that’s a bad excuse because really, I should remember them better because of that. But I started thinking about what Katherine had given me and what I could give her and I ended up coming up with something I really wanted for myself.
I looked up stamped aluminum jewelry, the same style Katherine had given me, and found a few vendors on Etsy. I ended up messaging Stephanie Leigh about ordering seven of a custom message and she was great working with me. I think they came out really well.
I decided to buy these for the six girls in my life that mean the most to me. And I kept one for myself, thus the seven. (Yes, someone already commented on the Lord of the Rings comparison to the rings for the dwarfs. I think we’re better looking than dwarfs, but that’s just me.) So this gift was kind of for me, and a bit for some missed birthdays and some just because.
My girlfriends are awesome for not laughing at me because of the letter I included with the package. I’ve copied my ‘book report’ of a letter below to share with you all.
I’m going to try to explain what the quote means to me. This is likely to sound like a high school English essay with the number of quotes I’m going to throw in, but stick with me. I promise it has a point. The quote is from my favorite book of all time, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.
Main character’s Pony and Johnny are staying out in the country in this scene (page 85 of my copy):
The dawn was coming then. All the lower valley was covered with mist, and sometimes little pieces of it broke off and floated away in small clouds. The sky was lighter in the east, and the horizon was a thin golden line. The clouds changed from gray to pink, and the mist was touched with gold. There was a silent moment when everything held its breath, and then the sun rose. It was beautiful.
“Golly” –Johnny’s voice beside me made me jump—“that sure was pretty.”
“Yeah.” I signed, wishing I had some paint to do a picture while the sight was still fresh in my mind.
“The mist was what was pretty,” Johnny said. “All gold and silver.”
“Uhmmmm,” I said, trying to blow a smoke ring.
“Too bad it couldn’t stay like that all the time.”
“Nothing gold can stay.” I was remember a poem I’d read once.
“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.”
Johnny was staring at me. “Where’d you lean that? That was what I meant.”
“Robert Frost wrote it. He meant more to it than I’m gettin’, though.” I was trying to find the meaning the poet had in mind, but it eluded me. “I always remembered it because I never quite got what he meant by it.”
The poem is called Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost. The boys begin talking about other topics, but Johnny comes back to the poem later. On page 157, he says to Pony, “Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.” Thus the quote on your rings. Later, he explains to Pony what he meant. From page 186:
I’ve been thinking about it, and that poem, that guy that wrote it, he meant you’re gold when you’re a kid, like green. When you’re a kid, everything’s new, dawn. It’s just when you get used to everything that it’s day. Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That’s gold. Keep that way, it’s a good way to be.
I love how Johnny describes this; it’s exactly what I want to stay. We’ve been friends a long time and seen things change and we might be coming into the ‘day’ of our lives, but we still have some gold left in us. There are things in our lives that keep us young and we have to be reminded of them sometimes. You are a part of what keeps me gold. Having close friends that make me happy and with whom I can talk to about the ups and downs of the day keep my spirit young. I wanted this ring to remind me of that and I wanted to share it with you so that you would never forget it either.
I hope you can all see why this quote means so much to me. I’ve worn my ring almost daily since I got it to remind me to cherish what makes me happy. I hope you all can do that, too.