it’s just a sidewalk, in this picture above. it was just a trip to the grocery store that gave me this little scene. and there was nothing special about it. there was no fork in the road where i had walked, the path didn’t split. though, there was an intersection in front of me. but when i looked at the picture at home, i saw something. or rather i remembered something… my favorite poem and what it means to me.
when we come up on any crossroads in our life, we must decide which way to go, sometimes not knowing what lies at the end of the road. however, many times, we’re traveling on familiar roads, to familiar places, and giving almost no thought to where we are going. we could drive it in our sleep. or we’ve ridden a certain train so many times, that there is nothing new to see. we become blind to all that is around us, bored by it’s ordinariness (is that a word? well, you get what i mean). i would argue, though, that even the ordinary roads have something new to offer as we journey on them day after day.
but, what if we are presented with a new road, a new opportunity, or a detour? it’s so easy to just skip right past it, and continue on our old, familiar path. a new road is terrifying. and then, what if we are presented with a fork in the road, where the road splits and we have no idea what’s down either path? do we take the one that is well-worn and travelled often? or do we set out on our own, blazing a new trail that perhaps only a few have trod before?
i must say… i yearn for the one less taken. of course, the well-travelled one may be a safer bet and more practical. but, both are equally beautiful. both have much to offer. and if i choose one over the other, then i will surely miss out on what lies down the path of the unchosen road. still, i am drawn to the road less travelled. it’s wildness, it’s simplity, it’s naturalness.
as i write this i am longing for a day in the woods in the mountains of nc, where i grew up, where my parents took me on hikes and took me camping. and then as i got older, i did it on my own with friends and colleagues (i created a hiking group at the church where i worked). i am longing to go out into the woods and spend some time getting lost, observing all that is around me, listening to the sounds, and breathing in the air. i can see in my mind’s eye the sun shining through the trees, golden and warm in the cool air. i want to walk in places where few have walked.
i suppose that in my life, i have also chosen the road less travelled again and again. i don’t usually follow the typical route, and what a crazy journey it has been for me. it has been scary, challenging, amazing, and life-changing. but, i have experienced more and seen more than i ever could have imagined.
yes, whenever there are 2 roads, my heart says to go down the one less travelled. the one not taken will always be a mystery. but, the calling seems to be to not follow the same ‘ole path as everyone else. the calling is to take that leap of faith. to trust. to explore & discover. to grow & be changed by the challenges and the beauty.
so, i’m with robert frost. blaze your own trail. and be true to yourself. it will make all the difference.
“The Road not Taken” ~ Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, 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 feet 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 travelled by,
and that has made all the difference.
peace to you. even when the road ahead splits.