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.
That’s the third verse from “The Road not taken.” One of Frost’s more famous poems. And it’s interesting to look at this one. I’ve never really taken a close look at it before but now that I do I see something that really catches me off guard and tells you who much I’ve changed since reading this High School.
The two roads that the author describes in the poem are nearly identical. In the second verse he says that one looks just as good as the other and had seen equal traffic though we could argue about the better path being the one that wasn’t shrouded in undergrowth. But I think the author really goes out of his way to say that the two roads are really very similar with nothing to make one stand out as the better choice over the other.
And he takes the road less traveled by. But which one is that? “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.”
So which is the road less traveled?
The choice. The choice, the decision to do something and to act is the road less traveled.
How do I know? Well I don’t know if Frost was Christian or anything but I do know that this fits really well into the parable of the talents. I imagine that this is very much how slave number three, the one who had the least amount of money to invest, felt when he suddenly was expected to do something with it. Does he invest it with the money lenders? Does he buy and trade in goods trying to earn a profit? What about that new restaurant that just opened downtown? Maybe the money should be invested there… but what if it doesn’t take off?
There’s a man standing where two roads are diverging, but rather than picking a path he takes the path most often taken: indecision. He takes his money, buries it in a field and when the master comes home he says “At least I didn’t loose your money.” And the master replies, “Dude….epic fail. Go sit in the corner and cry.” (Matthew 25:30 Dramatically Embellished Version)
The challenge is not to make the RIGHT choice, but to make sure a choice is made.