04 September, 2012

Poetry in the Wilderness

The other day, I tried walking a side path on the Appalachian Trail. It was a dead-end trail, and is presumably not walked by many hikers, since it is clearly marked as a dead-end.

The path was only a mile long, and was not particularly difficult to traverse. Nevertheless, it was obvious that not that many came this way. I imagine there are many such spurs on the length of the Appalachian Trail, and most hikers will only bother to go down one or another to see an out of the way waterfall or some other landmark of interest. This one, however, had no waterfall at the end. It had only a small open clearing available for people to put up a tent, a small circle of rocks obviously left for fire use, and a small boulder with text written upon it.

The text was 3/4 of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken:

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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