I went to a place today I had been meaning to visit for some time now – a beautiful building that was once the residence of a marquise nearly a century ago. I had to visit it soon because its condition has worsened significantly and will be closed down at the end of this month for repair works… phew, I made it just in time!
When it was built, it incorporated the then latest and best designs and techniques of Western architecture, and called itself “the most state-of-the-art residence in the Orient.” The marquise was assigned to duties in the U.K. at the time of its establishment, so it took on an Old English style to welcome guests from his times overseas. But it still maintained some Asian-ness in it:
Western fireplace with Asian-like patterned cover in the marchioness’ room
As I looked around the building, I thought about what kind of lives they lived…
Maybe they mingled with domestic and international guests to deepen understanding of each other in the salon.
Maybe they had extensive discussions with young hopefuls about the future of the country in the study.
Maybe they dreamed about what awaits them as they came down the stairs from their confines and went out the doors to the world.
Maybe their days here were golden… but those days are long gone.
Maybe we can try our best to repair and restore, but the best we can do is preserve.
Maybe nothing gold can stay, and no past glory can be relived.
But maybe when one gold loses its glory, another, first green, flowers to have its hour as gold.
Maybe it is sad to see one gold go, but if we do not cling to one, another will surely be on its way with time.
As I looked around the building, I was reminded of a poem by a widely recognized 20th-century American poet R.F.… Nothing gold can stay? Everything’s enrolled in Nature’s way!
So, what would you choose – hang on to the gold that never stays against natural flow of time and end up with a clock that stops moving, or look forward to the next gold time will naturally bring your way and never see your clock stop?
By the way, I am all for preservation of historical buildings. We have lost too many of them to natural and man-made disasters, so they are very precious even if they are no longer the gold they once were. I wish all the best in the repair works here, and hopefully there will be new findings to be discovered – new golds emerging from old golds.