When I was in my final year of secondary school, we had to study the idea of ‘Journeys’ in our English course. As a part of it we were given some materials to study as a class, and also had to source some of our own. There is one particular poem that was in the booklet of study that appealed to me way back then and it very often comes into my mind.
That poem is the quite well known ‘The Road Not Taken’, by Robert Frost. The thing that makes me think about it the most is when I am walking and exploring anywhere new and feel the urge to deviate from the main road, path or track. I am that person who wants to turn down the smaller streets and walkways and see what I discover, leave the main and obvious walking track and see what is down the smaller path that someone at some stage has created. Obviously there are times when I don’t do this, because safety and all, but when the opportunity arises I am there. I find myself naturally drawn to the unknown. This is not always possible though.
This is the same for so many things in life, we have to make decisions, and sometimes there seems to be little difference in our options (the two roads in the wood), and we just have to make a choice. We are not to know what lies ahead, around the bend. And no matter how many times other people have been in our shoes and can share their experiences with us (both paths being worn the same), we need to make the best decision we can with what we have in front of us. It is reassuring to know that other people have been faced with similar decisions, but ultimately, it is up to us to make the choices we need to take. Sometimes we need to take the lesser known path, and it ends up being the best decision we could have made. We will never really know how the other would have panned out if we had taken it, but if we are happy, does it really matter?
I’m sure this will always remain one of my favourite poems.
The Road Not Taken – 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;
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.