Nothing Gold Can Stay…

“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.”
~ Robert Frost




The time has come to leave Zion, and it smarts just as badly the at the end of the second autumn as it did the first, if not more so. Maybe because I am leaving this year with “time still on the meter,” meaning a few days ahead of Old Man Winter, before he comes barging through, blowing the 24 karat gold off the cottonwood trees like a blustering bully. Leaving Zion abrades my skin like the fickle Zion Canyon wind that changes directions to meet me head on, leaving raw exposed emotions.



I am not sure what it is about the Virgin boondock that makes me so reluctant to leave. Maybe it is because it’s the first place I ever boondocked alone for any length of time. It took me some time to feel comfortable, but once I got over the fear of noises and the rare stray headlights pointed in my direction in the dark of night, and found “my love to keep me warm” in the form of Mr. Buddy Heater, I have felt at home here. For two autumn seasons in a row, it has offered me the conveniences and small town comfort of nearby Hurricane, the camaraderie of friends around me, opportunities for endless exploration, and more visual stimulation than I have found at any other national park.



My brother Don recently asked why on earth I would stay in such an “arid” place for so long. What was the lure of “red rocks?” But it’s not just the rocks. Sheer cliff walls, pinion pine and juniper forests, and a tumbling river flowing through the blood red heart of the canyon make up a daily feast for the eyes that makes surrounding destinations look monochromatic in comparison.



As I sat there on the newly frosted November morning, the Winnie engine idling, I said aloud, “It pains me to leave you, but I am grateful for all the beauty, comfort and nurturing you have provided for me. But you are not a permanent home. And I am not a permanent person. So I must go, and hope to see you again one day….”

Then I pulled out, teary-eyed, heading toward my southward migration….leaving half my brand new leveling blocks behind. (I guess something “gold” can stay after all!) 😉




From this point on, every mile driven will be one mile closer to Texas where I face a Christmas holiday season with a 40% reduction in family members. My dear friend always tells me, “Follow your heart.” My heart is in Texas with my Mom, Don, and Stephen’s family. But my soul is in the mountains, the oceans, the red rocks of Zion, and all the places of Nature’s beauty that beckon from the bottom of the bucket. And sometimes that separation is a killer…



Sun through the ice crystals on my back window.

Sun through the ice crystals on my back window.


14 thoughts on “Nothing Gold Can Stay…

  1. Zion is truly a majestic place on this earth. Beautiful pictures! Enjoy the special time with your family in Texas!

  2. Early in our RVing career, when we were in a travel trailer, we drove off one morning, leaving our 30 amp surge protector hanging on the power pedestal. Fortunately it was still there when we returned for it. Your pictures of Zion are just wonderful. Hope the trip to Texas will be uneventful.

  3. We just left Zion on Monday, the leaves are pretty much gone and it was well into the 20’s at night. Sooooo many great areas to hike, you would have to stay there several months to even put a dent into it.

  4. Zion seems subject to such extremes. When we were there this summer, our joy in exploration was constantly challenged by our need to stay cool . It seems it is now tempered with thoughts of how to stay warm. I have the mid size Mr. Buddy but hate the dependence on the little bottles. I am not at all convinced I will be able to stay sufficiently warm without electricity.

    I too know the pull between heart /desires, connection/freedom. Walking the line between the two seems delicate at best. Hope that your time with family blesses your hear with many new travels for the New Year! Be well my friend!!

  5. Oh, Suzanne, I can hear your pain in your words. Your heart is leading you to the correct place:) I so understand how hard it is to leave this spectacular area. I am so in love with southern Utah and am so depressed every time we move on. I begin counting the days til we return the next year. As Gaelyn said, it will be there:) Safe travels to Texas to be with your family:)

    Your photos are so very beautiful. Thanks for sharing Zion’s fall glory:)

  6. As Gaelyn says it will always be there, and the anticipation of returning will be huge. At this moment being with family is very important. Also there is the planning and organising of future trips to look forward to. Safe travels.

  7. I don’t think I mentioned, but your leveling blocks were nowhere to be found when we stopped by your boondock. Guess someone picked them up…
    Ms Autumn hung around till December this year, and we were grateful. Given your posts all through November, as well as today’s… filled with mind-blowing photos of Zion’s supernatural colors and wonder… how anyone could question why someone would want to extend their stay in such an “arid place.” How could you not??? Maybe you just have to be there. Every year I think about going someplace “different” just for the sake of not repeating what’s been already explored. But every year, as the aspen “gold” begins to fall in Lovely Ouray, I am pulled by a heart-force greater than my logical left brain and end up back “home.”
    BCB Mark

  8. Please don’t go to Texas through my part of NM because I’m not there! I just arrived in Houston this afternoon, much to my dismay. I will be in Texas until a few days after Christmas. Maybe we can see each other this time! I will be up in your neck of the woods a couple of times this month. Let’s work on it!!!

  9. Enjoy your family time. Thanks for all the words and pictures, we have enjoyed them all. One must take care of the heart and soul.

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