I’ve been trying to do some easy hiking these last few weeks. It’s kinda hard with a bum knee but so very much worth it. Over the last two month’s I’ve been trying to take the other path. The one that isn’t always directed to where I should go. This last time I went hiking at the Snake Creek Recreation area near the Missouri River, I noticed that the path I had been taking the last few times actually diverged into two. I stood there for a moment and the lines from that Robert Frost poem
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
I stood there and wondered, why I hadn’t seen this split before. Was I not paying attention the last few times? Did I just instinctively go the other direction not paying attention? Did this magically happen by goblins bent on taking me to the Labyrinth where I’d wind up defeating the Goblin King? (that might be for another post or an abnormal psychologist).
So, I stood there, wondering which way to go. I knew where the path to the right led. I’ve been there a couple of times and loved what I saw. But the other path was a mystery to me. I didn’t know where it went. And so I took the path less traveled.
I passed through trees and pines which smacked and slapped at my face and arms. The wind whipped and made whistling sounds from those holes in my cane used to adjust the height. I passed through trees and a path I didn’t know where it led. All I knew is that it led to someplace I hadn’t been before. And so I followed it.
During this last summer, the Missouri River flooded. So much so that the area had been blocked and closed to all public use. As I turned the bend, I saw repairs being made to the trail I was on. A wooden retainer wall was in the middle of being repaired. The fresh wood still smelling like pine, and planks and studs still sitting down, ready to be picked up again and the work continued at some later date.
I walked across the left over branches, the flotsam and jestom of the flooding from the summer. The trees towered over me, I didn’t know exactly where I was at. And then I turned the bend once more and saw where the path was leading. I had been here before. This was the day use/beach area we had come to so many times before. This was the place I brought people to show them the beauty of the river. And now I saw it from a new perspective. I saw it from behind the trees and from a path not taken before.
I walked over and saw the sight I had seen so many times before from a new light, from a new perspective. The path I had not taken before led me to a new understanding of where I was at.
And so, after looking at the view, finishing the trail, I walked back to where the two converged and took the path I had taken in the past. I walked around the bend and saw the bench sitting there, inviting me to sit and rest my knee and ankle and to enjoy the view of the river.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.