Nothing Gold Can Stay

This week I was added to an Etsy treasury called Stay Gold Ponyboy…..Stay Gold . The title is from the 80’s movie The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It’s an amazing story of friendship among a tight knit group of  kids from the wrong side of the tracks. The bond between these boys crosses into family connections. They look different then the other kids in town, they act different then the other kids in town and they have different interests. Though to others these kids seem lost and possibly dangerous, they are beautiful people. There’s poets and substitute parent figures, there’s clowns and scholars, rebels with soft hearts and fierce protectors but what really stands out is the love for each other. This love is timeless and all consuming, no judgements, no boundaries, no holds bar.

Being added to this treasury this week was so fitting. The Outsiders is one of my all time favorite movies. I watched it over and over again as a teenager. I too spent most of my life as an outsider, looking different, acting different and pursuing different interests. I can recite the movie practically word for word. Johnny on his death bed tells Ponyboy to “stay gold”. He’s referencing a poem Pony quoted him while they are hiding from the law. The poem is by Robert Frost and like the movie is about the beauty and frailty of the human condition. How love and souls touch us, burn so brightly in our orbits but fade away. We are human, we pass on and in doing so take that shine, that gold with us.

As an outsider I too found a home with a like minded band of misfits. I grew up a punk rocker. At 14 I found myself, shaved head and all at a Grateful Dead show and my soul spoke that I was home. Over the past 24 years I have toured with both the Dead and Phish and found the same kind of friendship and family seen in S.E. Hinton’s amazing story. It’s hard to describe these bonds and even harder for people to really understand. My love for my tour friends and family transcends time, space and distance. I know it does for so many of us.

Phish played an epic 3 day festival this past weekend. It was terrific as always to be surrounded by the music and the people. Upon returning home, I received the news of a friends death. Tim did tour with me back in the 90s and somehow after that ended up in the army in Iraq. We have been back in touch over the past couple years by phone and computer though I never did get to see him again. I never did get to ask what such a gentle soul was doing in a war and how that may have affected him. Perhaps it was as simple as a call to try to help, unsurprising, for Tim had so much love to give.

Yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of another shining soul from our family, Kenny B. A beautiful man, smile ready, unstoppable personality. Bigger then life. His gold has yet to fade in any of our memories.

Yesterday too, another family member passed under the shadow. Andrew was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. He is in the hospital but we all believe he is going to be okay. Watching the outpouring of love and concern when my friends realized he was missing; it was like watching an army mobilize, no man left behind. We finally found him at Kings county around 7pm  last night, and let the doctors know who he was so they were able to contact his other family. Our thoughts and love are with you brother.

Unfortunately my list of family and friends lost could go on. I miss all your shine: Katy Mayhem, Guido, Sideshow Bob, Starman, little D, Sonny, Frankie and so many more……. Physical life is brief and fleeting, your souls will shine forever. Your family still loves you and will see you on the other shore.

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 1923

—-In memorandum

Timothy  Lawrence Holten March 23, 1977- July 2, 2011

Kenny Bezzant July 13, 1976 – July 7, 2008

Beautiful Words from Tim

Video by Steve D Baker

Stay Gold Kenny Stay Gold

 Photo thanks to Christina Morales

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