Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The road not taken by Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Every fall this poem by Robert Frost comes to mind. And every time that I reread it, I struggle with the meaning of his last line, "I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference." Was Frost's choice random? Does life come down to the flip of a coin, a random chance? Where does the meaning of our choices derive from; if it is not a conscious decision determined by the circumstances of our life and its events then what meaning can there be?

I, like Frost, prefer the road less traveled. But, my choice is meaningful - to experience the new and different. The same drive and urge that pushed Columbus across the ocean blue when others questioned his wisdom. It is only through new challenges that we grow as human beings.

Oh, the picture has significance - it is a path that my French forebearers traveled many times in their lives. It is a path that led on to other journeys. It is a path less traveled, but one that brings me to where I am.

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