“Nature’s first green is gold,” Robert Frost once wrote, “her hardest hue to hold.” Even as a teenager, reading the poem for the first time, I understood the paradox of those lines—of green beginning in gold, of leaf beginning in flower—but I had never seen that paradox for myself. I could picture it, but I had never seen it. I thought it must be a natural phenomenon of Frost’s New England that wasn’t replicated in the pineywoods of Alabama. An Alabama girl drunk on poetry must make allowances like that. I’d never seen the woods fill up with snow, either.
Turns out I simply wasn’t paying attention.