No doubt everyone is familiar with Robert Frost’s lament in his poem, The Road Not Taken. Our writing prompt one day was to stand at that crossroads ourselves — and choose the other road. What do we find at the end of it?
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 marked 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.
My Own Imagined Journey:
I stood for a few moments contemplating the two roads, then chose to follow the one more travelled by. For hours I walked on the gravelled path, descending at times into little wooded valleys. At one point I caught the smell of the sea and concluded the coast couldn’t be far off.
Over one last hill I went, paused on its brink and took in the blue horizon. Then I spied near the shore below me a neat little town with folks strolling here or there. Beyond it I saw a busy harbor scene with half a dozen ships at anchor. Sailors were carting kegs and trunks off or onto several ships.
I quickened my steps and arrived in the town an hour later, feeling the need of some nourishment. I stopped a friendly-looking stranger to inquire where I’d find an inn and he steered me in the direction of the Crab & Crow. There I found a cheerful hostel with a decent meal on offer and a room where I could spend the next few nights.
For several days I wandered back and forth through the town, enjoying the feel of the place and the good humor of the inhabitants. I decided to put down some roots in this congenial spot, so I found myself a job braiding rope and located a tiny house for rent.
In time I made the acquaintance of my neighbor, a ship captain who told me of all his voyages across the seas. Something began to stir within me, a vague unrest I couldn’t understand, a feeling there must be something more for me than this quiet life.
Then one day the Captain says to me, “I’m to take another ship across to France. You should come along for the ride. We can always use a man on board who can mend our ropes.” My spirit was roused and I felt a yearning such as I’d never known before. Dreams of gliding over the briny deep and visions of exotic places filled my mind.
I walked down to the pier one morning with the Captain and stood surveying his vessel, its sails billowing in the wind. A surge swelled in my bosom and swept me up to castles in the air. I had the same sensation that I’d had a year before when I stood at the crossroads and chose the path that brought me here. Now my little home and present life were on one hand and another road was beckoning to me.
I quickly accepted the Captain’s offer. Had I only known where this road would take me!
And there I leave you to imagine a suitable ending for this tale.