How I love Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, where at the last, the poet chooses the road ‘less traveled’, making all the difference.
That image of standing at forked crossroads and choosing with deliberation the path of travel, knowing the direction taken inevitably leads away from the other choice, the other road, is so compelling.
But I am a woman of the road most traveled, not least.
Thus do I stand in family, in work, in life, on a road of tradition and connection, a road of the known, for many have been there before me and reported back.
Some days I decry my own lack of the adventurous spirit.
Yesterday was not one of those days.
I drove the 10 miles or so from the village of McDowell where I live to the ‘town’ of Monterey (population 158, give or take).
It is a road taken by we living in McDowell sometimes daily.
And I know it well.
I know where to slow down to avoid the police watching for speeders (although I sometimes forget).
I know where to watch for deer (although they sometimes surprise).
I know how long it takes me to get from the beginning to the end of the journey, almost to the second, adjusted for log trucks from elsewhere who simply will not get out of the way.
But what stayed with me yesterday is that because I travel this road so often, I know where to look for beauty along a winding road already filled with nature’s wonder.
Look right on the straight stretch out of McDowell for the llama guarding Cindy & Jeff’s sheep from the cyotes, doing a quick check just before to see if Pearl and Benny and Sarah and Luke are safe at home.
Look left around this curve into the small break in undergrowth to see the clearing beyond.
Look right again checking – Patsy and Sonny are home . . . what progress the Hiltons have made to their horse training arena, emerging slowly from the woods, one stroke of the saw at a time.
Look right just there to catch the tiny waterfall of fresh streamwater grown large in fall and frozen with dappled runs of water underneath in winter.
Look straight ahead to catch the yellow leaves sauntering to earth on the breeze like old friends greeting my passing through.
Slow down around the hairpin curve to see if any eagles have come back to the pond.
|View atop Jack Mountain|
Look left, always left, to catch the fall wildflowers emerging stubbornly from the rock face out of which the road is carved.
While something in me fancies the idea of the road less traveled, I live on the road more traveled and I am the richer for it.