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.
At some point we have all probably read this Robert Frost poem: A simple story of choices that change a life, with the somewhat bittersweet line of "Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back." When anyone looks back on their life, they often can point to times when they had to make a choice that sent their lives in one direction while the other possible avenue became an opportunity missed.
Some of these events where a divergence occurred are looked on with a wistful countenance and "I wish I hadn't missed out on that" while others can make you laugh, "Boy did I miss a bullet with that one". Sometimes there is longing over times we said goodbye never to see that person again and yet with memory, missing that person becomes as real as the instant the loss or choice took place.
One of the greatest times of decision in our nation's history was the Civil War that meant state against state, brother against brother, the separation from loved ones, and the lives that came to an end. War is one thing we all wish we could miss, but it is still with us today.
One of the most beautiful examples of decisions that led to longing for someone deeply missed appears in Ken Burns' "Civil War" and the letter of Sullivan Ballou to his beloved Sarah. Once you have heard this letter, or the beautiful song "Ashokan Farewell" that was played for the series, you can't help but think of the power of choices and the people or chances missed.