The Road Not Taken
by 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.
And that has made all the difference
by Darryl Crum
There is something about this poem by Frost that cuts to the quick of the human experience, of the cause and effect of our choices in life. It’s a vivid and apt description of how we came to be who we are, an explanation of how the parts of each of our lives, parts that make up the sum, were collected through our individual experiences.
What forces drive us to choose one road over the other – to decide one path in life versus another? When we came to the forks that led us to our destiny, did we have even a fraction of an idea as to where the path we took would lead us?
Brothers, two men from the same womb, from the same nurturing home travel down the road, each in his own time, each at his own pace, each equipped with essentially the same nature and same nurture come to a diverging road – one takes the open path and the other? Well, he takes the path the path that seems less traveled. Brothers? Yes, the same can be said about sisters. Their paths in life differ, and then, so do they.
I have a brother; he is the last of my four brothers. I am the youngest of five, he is the one just older than me. We are a similar mixture of nature and nurture. He taught me all that he had been taught by our brothers before him. He and I were raised in the same home, had the same loving mother and father, went to the same school, had the same teachers, learned the same lessons in life, worshiped the same God, worked in the same fields, slept in the same bed, drank from the same dipper – and yet he and I are a study in individual differences. What can account for this other than the fact that he and I came to a diverging road in our lives – he took one path and I. . . . . I took the other.
I have no idea which of us made the better choice. I don’t think there is an answer to that question because there is no way to know if he had taken my path or if I had taken his path that either of us would be better off today. I think it is fair to say we each took the right path, the necessary path and second guessing means nothing.
Today, our differences range from the roll of government, gun control, social programs, a woman’s right to choose, and on issue after issue we walk on separate roads. But we are similar, very similar in the most important way. Because of the path he took, he has his wife, his children and his grandchildren and his heart is full of the love they have given him. I have my wife, and my children and my heart is full of the love they have given me. Our nurture, the nurturing ways taught to my brother and me when we lived the same lives, has remained constant regardless of the diverging roads.