The one less Traveled by, and it will make all the difference.
I first heard the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken” in fourth grade Creative Writing class. I remember the teacher, Janet DiSilvestro, standing in front of class, encouraging us to be different in our writing, to take the road less traveled by and to enjoy where it leads.
Nevermind that I grew up to love poetry, or to be an English major, or that I published my first book of poems “Crossroads” and Janet DiSilvestro drove from Ohio to congratulate me at the book signing. If anyone knows where she is today please drop me a note so she and I can reconnect. Like I said, nevermind all that.
The words became a metaphor for my life in weird ways of health and finances, in ways of diet, meal prep, and food. In ways seeming natural to me and unnatural to others, I am different. Sometimes it hurts when those who should be closest to us call us “weird”.
It’s just that those profound words made an impact on my young life and I’ve chosen to live them.
While hiking with my husband in the early morning on this path we discovered that we both heard this poem at the exact same time of our young, impressionable lives. We’ve been married 18 years and we’ve just discovered this about each other.
We’ve had plenty of roads less traveled in our lives.
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And, we like to climb mountains:
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Which road should I take? I chose to take the right. It looked more rugged and arduous to me, less traveled. My husband took the left because he immediately determined it to be more narrow and less traveled. We didn’t discuss our choice, but each made a decision and took off down the path. When we came back together on the other side we each said, “I took the road less traveled by, and it made all the difference”. We each cocked our head at the other and immediately understood the choice, the source of the words, and grinned.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
Immediately, I longed to take his road less traveled by so I could understand it myself. I doubted that we should ever pass this way again.
This day a unique opportunity presented itself. On the return we looped back to pick up this little piece of the trail. We each had opportunity to travel each other’s road less traveled.
Somehow ages and ages hence I shall be telling this with a big long sigh. We will jump the pond to the land of hobbits, where we hold up in a hobbit hole home at the base of a mountain writing our books about the roads less traveled by because we were gutsy enough to take them, and they have made all the difference.
Comment about a road less traveled that you have taken, even if you weren’t glad for the journey in the moment of passage.
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Which Road Should I Take? was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.