Green Gold

Nicki Underwood

It is funny to think what can bring back one's childhood. I have just escaped that realm of make believe and laughter, where worries are nothing more then distant honey bees, whose largest concern was whether the sweetest nectar was in this field.

But it was on the eve of my departure to my first year at college that really brought into focus the innocence lost from my first few years of life. And the thing that triggered it was a rock. Yes, a rock. I know, I know. Rocks are everywhere, especially when you live smack dab in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains like I do. But, this was a special rock.

When I was old enough to walk a few tottering steps back and forth, my father introduced me to the wonders of the outdoors. My father was a simple man, and all that he asked for was a clear sky and sunshine. He ran his business and his life from the outdoors, so it was only natural that he would introduce me to its wonders as soon as I walked. He led me outside, my little hand clasped in his. I opened my big green eyes, soaking in the wonders that he showed me; from a turtle poking his head out of shell to the big owl that sat in the tree. But, it is the rock that sticks out in my mind the most. He sat me down upon the cold earth, and began to earnestly dig through the gravel that lined our winding driveway. I giggled, thinking the whole idea of digging in the dirt to be a fun game. But, with a look of satisfaction, he came up and held out a smooth rock to me. It seemed to be nothing special, but then I noticed that the rock was green! As green as my eyes that I had inheirtated from my father. He bent down beside me, pleased with my curiosity.

"This is green gold, Nicki," he whispered.

I was amazed. Gold, and it was green! How special I was to have it! I clasped the rock to my chest and toddled away to my mother, holding my prize for the world to see.

It was for many years that my father and I went digging in the gravel, looking for these precious stones that in truth have no value. They're just ordinary gravel, with some quartz, a everyday Virginia stone.

But, it wasn't the stones that held the value. It was the wonders that my father showed me in my early years. He showed me so much about the world, and made it seem as if I could do anything. Even find gold in a piece of quartz.

So, when I came upon this misshapen piece of rock in my driveway, I couldn't help but smile, and pick it up. The memories came flooding back, and I remembered all those hidden lessons my father had seeded into my head.

And now, with my bags packed and my dreams full, I know I can do anything in everything, even when the value price is close to zip. But that's alright, because overall, I'd rather find green gold then true gold.