Auspicious Autumn

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“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.”
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We’ve all read it, we all quote it on occasion: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost; one of the most beautiful poems of all time (of course, my opinion). The autumn imagery this poem elicits is one of the reasons I chose to share it. But another reason is because of the last five lines. When he writes “I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence” I always wonder if he is sighing out of contentment or remorse; or neither. Perhaps he looks back on all of his life choices and sighs because, either way, there was a path that he steered away from. Not because it was bad, not because he didn’t want to go there, but because sometimes we have to choose between two directions that do not line up. As he writes, “though as for that the passing there, had worn them really about the same,” he is explaining that each path has been taken by many people before; not one path was “better” or “more attractive” than the other. We simply sometimes don’t know why we do things; why we choose one action or behavior over the other. And that’s okay. None of us will ever know what our life would have looked like if we did something differently. Isn’t that the beauty of it all, though? But I still wonder about the “sigh,” and hope that one day, ages and ages hence, I’ll look at the path that I’ve taken and I will sigh with contentment.

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