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Roads Not Taken

A Visual Interpretation

Robert Frost's Poem, "The Road Not Taken", is often interpreted as endorsing an adventurous, risk-taking spirit that is willing to travel roads usually shunned by others.  This interpretation often concludes that "The road less travelled" makes all the difference.  

As many literary scholars point out, Frost's poem is not titled "The road less travelled" but rather "The Road Not Taken".  In fact, the speaker in Frost's poem says that both paths being considered were worn "really about the same".  Neither path was LESS travelled.  The problem faced by the speaker is the reality of life's choices.  To move forward, one must choose a path knowing that the choice will probably preclude any future opportunity of traveling the other path.  There is a hint of regret in the speaker who wishes to travel both paths, but cannot.  The speaker suspects that, at some future time, he or she will feel the need to justify his or her choice.  At that time, the speaker will try to convince himself or herself that the chosen path was the best.

How often do we of middle-age look back and wonder what our life would be like had we chosen the "other" path?  In my visual interpretation above, the main figure is the priest dressed in clerical attire and standing in the sanctuary of his church.  The priest reflects on other career paths he might have taken: a doctor, an entertainer, and a photographer.  Here he stands debating with himself that the path he chose was the best; but the figures in the other "paths" seem less than convinced.

Life necessitates choices.  Happiness is found, not in making the "best" choice, but in discovering joy in the choices we have made.  Every path possesses wonder and beauty.  We need only to look for it.