“Nothing gold can stay”

Yesterday morning, I walked through a stretch of cholla and prickly pear just as the autumn sun was rising. It hit the cholla spines just so, in the particular way it does in the desert sometimes, turning them this shimmering bright gold that made the air seem to shimmer, too.

Later, mid-afternoon, I walked back along the same stretch. The gold was long gone: prickly pear and cholla instead had taken on this deep-yet-dull desert green, all the light–all the magic–drained away.

The world had turned so ordinary, between one passing and the next, by a simple shifting of the light.

I wasn’t there at sunset. I wonder if the light hit the spines again, just for a few moments–as it also tends to do–transforming them once more before leaving entirely.

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