30 July 2007

Choices and Changes

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.


Comedy + said...

As always so very well done. Another wonderful reminder of the importance of choices. The video is sad, so sad. The music is haunting. They, though long dead, will live on through these pictures/videos. Have a great MM. :)

tegdirb92 said...

My favorite poet!! "Stopping By The Woods..." is the poem I used on my blog (blog name) Very well done post.


Anonymous said...

I'm tearing up and speechless.

I am a descendant of one of the generals who fought in this war.

the108 said...

Wow. I understand this all too well. Great MM post!!!

crazy working mom said...

Very powerful post!

We'll always look back on things in our life that we wish we could change. But, it makes us who we are today!

Gattina said...

I agree with crazy working mom, if we hadn't taken the ways we did, we wouldn't be here were we are. I honestly don't think I missed anything important I mean.

Janna said...

I LOVE "Ashokan Farewell".
It's one of my very favorite folk melodies. I love to play it on the harp.

Meloncutter said...

Good Post. Thought provoking.

Well Done.

Later Y'all

Nancy Lindquist-Liedel said...

The road less traveled is far more interesting and forges a more worthwhile life, imo. :)

RebelliousRenee said...

excellent post!

I feel the winds of change blowing on my back as I type...

exploration can be fun and fearful at the same time.... getting out of one's comfort zone is usually rewarding....

maggie said...

Interesting choice on miss.

Don't worry about the sleep study. It really wasn't that bad.

Matt-Man said...

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

--Yogi Berra

Morgen said...

missed opportunites
and a history lesson.
thought-provoking and touching.
your site always moves me.

Christine of Epiphany said...

Beautiful song~
thank you so much~

Anonymous said...

Make me think of my own personal choices, Jamie. Just bear in mind my ancestors were shooting at the people dressed in "Ballou"

Linda said...

I feel like I have so many missed opportunities in my life but I always try to believe that we make the choices we do for a reason - though sometimes we never figure out what that reason may be!

As always, a terrific post, especially considering you touched on one of my favorite periods of history.

Dexter said...

...enjoyed reading this ...have you done anything on this blog about Walt Whitman, maybe "Leaves of Grass"?

Sarge Charlie said...

this is so very well done, I had to memorize that poem for some class. Your video is also excellent.

Travis said...

Such a pivotal point in history, with so many possibilities.

Excellent for the theme. Thank you.

Marilyn said...

Two really great ideas for today. Thank you.

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