A few months ago, I started working with gold, melting gold shot into limpid pools with an acetylene torch, rolling it patiently, repeatedly through fierce steel plates to flatten it into a thin sheet I could cut with snips and forge into rings, earrings, bracelet. What I didn’t like, I melted down to begin again.

What seems like an extravagance is really very practical. It is almost impossible to destroy gold. Fire simply causes it to change form. It looses neither weight nor value nor beauty.

Gold coin melted / Sally Schneider

Friends started sending me reports of …gold. Not just the physical stuff that scientists found dusting the leaves of certain eucalyptus trees , drawn up through the earth via its roots…

…but the many kinds of gold we humans value…

Sidewalk Graffiti New York City / Sally Schneider

My favorite is artist Karin van der Molen’s sculpture, Heart of Gold,

Heart of Gold refers to a boat that carries a treasure through the air. The sculpture is inspired by the shape of the Chinese traditional gold nugget, a symbol for wealth and prosperity.


Karin van de Molen

Here in the forest of Capriasca, wealth is experienced in an unworldly manner. It is not about money, but about the luxury of clean air, a forest floor, trees, leaves. It’s about life.


Karin van de Molen

From below the visitor can look up in the hole at the bottom of the sculpture. He will find the treasure in the silence within.


Karin van de Molen


Gold IS all around us.

Pablo Neruda saw the “gold of the universe” in a lemon…

Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
the lemons
move down
from the tree’s planetarium

Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
into the starry
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.

So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.


Ode to the Lemon from Pabro Neruda: All the Odes

With thanks to Ruth Kissene for throwing some gold over my transom.

If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *