I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere 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.
Recognize this snippet of a poem by Robert Frost from high school English class?
It inspired my long run today. I decided to ditch the sidewalks and neighborhoods and head out in the country for the first 5 miles or so. I was not disappointed. Look at some of the beauty I saw while I was out.
Also while I was out, I remembered a discussion we had in one of my literature classes in college about this poem. While everyone assumes that Frost is looking back — pleased — about having taken that less-traveled road, the poem actually never passes judgment on the decision.
So, is this poem one of satisfaction or one of regret?
In that discussion, I argued that humans are — by nature — hopeful beings, so we choose to interpret it as a poem of optimism. Of quiet satisfaction. Of clarity and purpose. But we could just as easily argue the other way. That Frost is looking back with regret. Look at that first line I quoted. “With a sigh.” Is that a sad sigh or a content sigh? We’ll never know.
Now that I’ve taken you on a little analytical journey, let’s get back to my actual 8 mile journey over the pavement this morning.