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Howard Coop | The road taken is reality

In 1916, Robert Frost, one of my favorite American poets, wrote and published a classic poem called “The Road Not Taken.”  In that poem, the New Englander wrote, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, …Long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; then took the other…”

How many of us can say we haven’t been there?  Standing at the forks in the road, looking down each one as far as we could see.  Then, each road “bent in the undergrowth” and blurred our vision.  At that point, there may have been hesitation, there may have been uncertainty, and there may have been desire, but after pondering the roads, an important, and maybe a life changing decision was made. And we chose one of one of them.

Saturday, May 11, 1946, began as a beautiful spring day, a bit warm and a little humid.  That morning I arose early to begin the chore of the day, hoeing a patch of potatoes.  About mid-morning, I stopped for a moment, leaned on the hoe handle, rubbed the sweat from my brow, and, peering into the future, I looked down the roads that were ahead until they “bent in the undergrowth.”  At that point a life changing and a life directing decision was made, and my life went on from there on that road. 

The road taken has been exciting. It has had a lot of good experiences, but it has not always been easy.  Occasionally, there have been bumps that made traveling a little difficult, but those unpleasant bumps were overcome.  In spite of the obstacles, life went on and the journey along that road has been good. It has been interesting and, at times, unbelievably pleasant. 

The road not taken is imaginary, it is what might have been. The road taken is reality, it’s what was and what is.  For each person, life is what it is, not because of the road not taken but because of the roads we choose to take.