I had an address book once
whose first pages held lists of things to remember;
for example, that a first wedding anniversary
called for gifts made of paper, the second, gifts made of cotton, and so on.
Another list contained the flowers for each month
(January: carnation, February: violet, etc.).
But my favorite list was the one with the birthstones for each month.
I never cared for the dark amethysts symbolic of February, my birth month,
so I often lingered over the months
that had colored gems I liked better.
a brilliant orange opal:
At the time, no one in my immediate family had yet been born after July,
so the gemstones for August through December
held a kind of unattainable attraction for me.
The chartreuse-colored peridot for August didn't interest me much.
I sometimes wished for September's dark blue sapphire
or December's light blue topaz though.
I felt bad for people born in November
because that meant they were stuck with the golden-brown topaz.
I love it now, but back then I was relieved it wasn't the gem for February.
But October's opal gemstone--
that appeared to me to be a mystical, magical stone
with its cosmic swirl of translucent colors.
According to the American Gem Society,
the word opal means "to see a change of color."
This one encapsulates the entire spectrum of color:
I like this next opal the best.
Isn't it amazing how much beauty is hidden inside this rock?