The wedding isn’t until 5:30. Our hosts left last night for their cabin in Maine. We have their house to ourselves, except for their daughter, an old friend of our kids. I head outside for a walk.
It is a three quarters of a mile uphill climb to the main road. The air is heavy and sticky. The humidity has returned and rain is expected late in the day. Hopefully, our niece will get her wedding photos before the downpours. I promised her Florida sunshine.
Half way up the hill, I pass a horse farm. A woman in full riding gear–black helmet, jodphurs, tall boots–is walking her horse along the fence. She opens the gate and crosses the street in front of me. The horse is very large. I remember you measure a horse in hands. One of my favorite red wines is a Cabernet Sauvignon from Fourteen Hands in Washington’s Columbia River Valley. Other than that, I know nothing about fourteen hands, but I think this horse could be that large. Is fourteen hands large? Or is that tall? What are we talking about here?
I am sweating as the hill flattens out and intersects with the main road. It is a winding, narrow country road. Very different from Florida, but not without it’s hazards. Like all roads in New Hampshire, it is lined with poison ivy. If a car whizzes by, too close to the edge, I will be forced off the road, into the P.I., which I am highly allergic to. I have suffered a poison ivy rash almost every summer of my life.
Luckily, there is very little traffic on a Saturday morning and if a car passes, I can hear it coming from quite a distance away. I jog up ahead to a cleared spot of grass and wait.
So many things to see, so different than a busy eight lane South Florida road. I forgot how quiet it is here. My mind strays to Robert Frost. After all, I’m in New Hampshire and yesterday I came across his poetry in the stairwell of a parking garage of all places. You never know where inspiration may strike.
I pass an old graveyard:
The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead. ~ Robert Frost
A stone wall beside a barn:
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun ~ Robert Frost
I reach a farm. Whose farm this is, I think I know. A friend of my older daughter’s grew up here.They raise alpacas, but I don’t see them today. They are selling eggs at the end of the driveway.
I’ve walked over a mile. Time to return to the house, run some errands, get ready for the wedding. Lots of my husband’s family will be there, some we haven’t seen in a long time. Tomorrow we will drive to Rhode Island to visit my family. “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” Robert Frost once said.
On the walk back, I spend a lot of time thinking about the friends and family we left behind. My husband’s golf buddies, my wine emergency girlfriends, brothers, sisters, aging parents. Our daughters living in Colorado have also left friends and family behind. Some people live in the same place all their lives and others are always moving, seeking. Who’s to say which is the right road to travel. I think what Frost meant when he said, “And both that morning equally lay/In leaves no step had trodden back”, is that each life is unique. We all have to travel our own road, a road no one has ever taken before. There is no right or wrong path, but your choice will make all the difference. For me, it was important to change. I was stuck in a rut and terribly unhappy. Regardless, the road is short for all of us. I had to spend the rest of my days being happier. I’m still struggling-to find a house we can afford, to make a career of writing, to pay the bills without depleting our nest egg. But I have more purpose, my days are spent doing things I love. I am determined to succeed. I tell you this with a sigh of happiness.
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.
This song touches a place in me that longs to do work I love, to create, to touch people with words and to follow a dream. I couldn’t do that in the life I was living, but I will always return to New England.“I wish I was a slave to an age old trade, Lord have mercy on my rough and rowdy ways.”
“These are the places I will always go.”