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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Road Not Taken

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.

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.

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.

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. --Robert Frost, 1915

I find myself at a crossroads.

I found solace in this poem while walking through the rain today.

Perhaps solace is not the correct word to use here, because I find myself more befuddled and indecisive after reading and rereading it since I first was reminded of it.

I do not call myself a rogue, a maverick, or someone that strives to be different. The only thing I can say is that I try to be myself; I have to believe that myself is unique from other persons' selves. So therefore I cannot say that I will follow suit to every man, woman or child that has been inspired by this poem and take the road less traveled by.

Readers assume that the final line commits Frost to be at peace with his path. Who is to say that this "difference" is good, bad, or ugly? To me, this final statement is quite the contrary--it seems rather ominous. It is for this reason that I am all the more intimidated and confounded by the fork that lies before me.

I suppose if I were to determine an answer for the question "Why are we here?", it would be to make decisions. While there is a path set before us, we are allowed the decisions to deviate or follow the righteous path. Our decisions are like the punches in our ticket to heaven. These decisions were not meant to be easy or obvious. Frost saw no sign that pointed him to either road.

So I must conclude that I do not find any solace whatsoever in Frost's poem. Ironically, his path of words directs me right back to where I started. I find that Frost merely states that the path you choose leads you to your fate. It's almost sarcastic in that it's common sense and offers no help or direction at all. I cannot scorn Frost, however, because he humbly admits being as human as the rest of us.

Now I can choose the road besotted with tracks and ruts or that of an inviting unrolled carpet of soft earth, but I cannot stare at this fork forever. The message I gather from Frost is that I must take that first step, no matter where it leads me, to make any difference at all.