~the message my friend Jeff wrote in my high school yearbook
As an early bird living with two night owls, I suspect my husband and daughter live whole lives I’m not privy to. But they can keep the night. I prefer to welcome the light. Golden Hour, that time coveted by professional photographers as providing perfect light, actually occurs twice a day. Most people think about the last hour before sunset as the only Golden Hour, but forget that the first hour after sunrise is just as radiantly magical.
Literally, at least for me. Sunrise lighting is warm, soft, and diffused, since the sun is low in the sky. At sunrise, light bounces off less particles in the air, allowing more short wavelength light to easily reach our eyes. This is especially important to me, as I am colorblind. This means that my eyes don’t absorb light particles as well as most. But, it means I perceive variations in luminosity better than most of the people reading this. So I can’t tell the difference between the pinks and oranges of a sunset, but I see more variations in gold hues than people without color blindness.
The sunrise also serves as a daily reminder to, as my friend Jeff advised, stay golden.
Silver turns black.
Copper goes green.
But gold resists corrosion. In fact, it is the most nonreactive of all metals (because it refuses to share electrons with oxygen, which causes the chemical reaction resulting in the color changes in most metals). Gold, like The Dude from The Big Lebowski, abides. Gold weathers changes and chaos without becoming less than it was.
Gold abides without us and it abides within us.
Imagine if you will, in a galaxy far, far, away, two massive neutron stars circling one another in a choreographed dance of unavoidable destruction and inevitable creation. Finally, the stars collide, sending astronomic gravitational waves racing through the fabric of space-time.
In 2017, more than 1.3 billion years later, astronomers detected those waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. We could finally prove Albert Einstein’s predictions that space-time disturbances create all the heavy elements we know in the blink of an eye. Including gold, which we now find in every human being. This element plays an important health function, facilitating the transmission of electrical signals throughout our body.
Ancient alchemists sought to turn lead into gold. As of this writing, it is impossible to recreate this heavy metal without a particle accelerator or a nuclear reactor. Chemical reactions change the number and shape of the electrons in an atom but leave the nucleus of the atom unchanged. To make the sparkly metal, one would need to bind 79 protons and 118 neutrons together to form a single atomic nucleus, requiring an immense nuclear fusion reaction.
Which makes the gold within us and around us all the more valuable. We are already worthy, naturally full of sparkle and shimmer. Let the winds of change blow with speed and fury. I shall bask in the glow of the sunrise, let the candescent aureate flow through my veins and keep me grounded.
I shall abide and stay golden.