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, 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.

The above is a poem called “The Road Not Taken” by the celebrated American poet Robert Frost.

For years I had it in my subconscious that the poem was called ‘A Road Less Traveled’ and I referred to it as such. Recently, Claire and I, with Maggie the dog, have been going on morning walks in a sprawling local park (Lydiard) with wooded areas, ponds, streams, open pastures, barbeque/picnic locations, and multiple foot/cycling paths.  People who live around Lydiard Park come to jog or cycle, bring their dogs for walks, children for picnics, or just to have a stroll in the fresh air.

The thing about Lydiard Park is that you can have a short walk, long walk or very long walk, depending on your stamina and time availability.  We restrict ourselves, because of my limitations, to about an hour or so of walking.  We have given different paths names such as Squirrel Alley or Biryani Walk.  One particular path seems to be less frequented than the others and we refer to it as the ‘The Road Less Traveled’.

The other day, we tried to remember where the phrase came from and we couldn’t.  Had we been Americans, we would have no trouble remembering the poem or the poet so, apologies to our many American friends for my poor education.  Anyway, at the earliest opportunity, I looked it up.  I was pleasantly surprised!  The poem is so accessible and evocative.  It seems to me to be a metaphor for one’s life.  We all get to a point where we have to choose between two directions; one that is more traditional and therefore, more frequented, while the other is unconventional and less trodden.  We always wonder whether our life choice was right or not but of course, we never get to find out.

I am particularly taken by the pathos of the last verse where the poet anticipates, some day in the future, reflecting about his life choice of taking the road less traveled and wondering if it was the right choice.

Before we met, Claire and I had the opportunity to choose one path or another and we both chose our own ‘less traveled road’.  I wonder if either or both of us made a different choice, would we have met at all?  I hope so, I really do.  Because if we wouldn’t have, I would hate the idea that I would not have the love and support of Claire; nor would we have the children we have and love so much.  Both thoughts are unbearable.

So, here is to ‘the road less traveled’, you have been kind to me.