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31 December 2004

Some memories are treasures of solid gold. The sight of the moon shining through the snowy pine boughs... The feel and fragrance of a summer breeze... A slant of light through the trees... The pattern light and shadow made as clear water flows over stones in a stream... A glorious sunrise accompanied by Nature's dawn chorus... A soft twilight alive with fireflies and stars...

The wonder of newborn life held in your arms.

These are memories that will remain forever unsullied. Like gold, they will not tarnish with age. Unlike gold, they cannot be stolen; they remain yours forever, a shining wealth to sustain you in bad times. Spend them over and over again, handle them as you will, these treasures remain intact, becoming more beautiful with use.

Other memories are more like fairy gold, though: shining bright, but only at first glance.

It's the memories of the heart that can't always be counted on. But we store them up none the less. Because they are beautiful— they look like gold.

I have recently been given such a memory. A young man I do not yet know well, but whom I admire greatly, told me that he was glad of my presence in the class he teaches. Me. He was glad of me. The thought touches me deeply— or tries to; I distrust whatever tries to touch my heart.

But I want to believe that this young man does care that I have wandered into his world, that I have contributed something good to it, that I am valued— though for what reason I can't imagine.

But what did he really mean by what he said? I can't be sure. Was he just trying to be kind?

Even so, I've laid this treasure up in my trove. As with all the memories of my heart, if I never examine it closely, I'll never know it isn't real gold.


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