Friday, February 29, 2008

I Sold A Diamond

I hated to sell, but I sold my diamond today, plus a few rings and things I liked but did not love, or that were broken. In return I received not thirty pieces of silver but $734 for the lot.

I knew this diamond for six years. It was .47 carats, grade SI1, color G, a solitaire set in 14K yellow gold, and my first and only diamond. Geologists say that the youngest diamonds are 20 million years old. So I had a very old and radiant companion. Whether it was wise I don't know. Unlike other gems I have known, this one was deaf and mute. It did not wink at me, or reveal its secret name. It was beauty and constancy incarnate, and absolutely nothing else.

My homework revealed that 24K gold is presently at an insane record-busting price high (this is technically called "price ecstasy") of close to $1000 per ounce. (You will of course get much less for 14K gold, which is 53 percent pure gold, the rest other metals). A diamond of like quality goes for about $850 wholesale, and an honest jeweler who is buying will give you perhaps 60 percent of that. The first jeweler I consulted offered me $250 for the lot. I left him staring at my afterimage, I fled so fast!

Now my stone will bring happiness and beauty to others -- for generations. It will exist until this planet is a cinder. I was a short interlude in its life. And as lovely as it was, it is just a material thing, after all. All is vanity and striving after wind.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Glimpse of the Fox

Silent as thought he came and went. I glimpse him only a few times a year. But this morning the world was all cloudy white with an inch of fresh snow, and his warm-red fur stood out. I was snapping snow photos and got the barest glance at him: the fox.

After a single breath he vanished into the woods. I studied his footprints. Note the Greek cross in the middle. That's how you'll know a fox's tracks. Lucky you if you ever see a fox. They're so quiet, intent on business. Look for a den within a hundred feet or so of a creek. You'll know it for sure by the mess out front of scattered bones and fur and feathers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Treasures in Heaven

Tonight -- dry, clear, and a teeth-chattering 17 degrees -- our area was able to enjoy the only total eclipse of the moon we will see here until 2010. This photo was taken about 20 minutes before totality. Wins my daily Oscar for best performance by the sky. Runner-up: a huge flock of Canada geese pouring eastward, sounding like woodwinds.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Comes with a Lifetime Guarantee

"A bud is an undeveloped branch, flower or inflorescence which is found at the tip of a shoot or in the angle of a leaf." - Singapore Science Center

A bud is also a guarantee -- one of the very few guarantees in this world: that spring will come. (These are buds of young hickory trees here on the property.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

What Becomes a Legend Most?

This blacksnake has lived near kitchen door for at least three years, hiding in the ivy and stones, and in winter she sleeps in warmth and peace beneath the cabin's kitchen floor and now and then eats a mouse. She has, in the past, left a magnificent three-foot shed skin for me to admire. Broken and emptied shells of creamy beige-spotted wild-turkey eggs led me to Ms. Blacksnake and this picture. She held still for a good five minutes as if to say, "I'm giving you paparazzi one chance to get a good snap, now get it, and be off." Look at her elegant costume. I call this photo "What becomes a legend most?"

I think it was one of her silver children I accidentally stepped on one night in July.