There’s something about a lonely road that I simply can’t resist. Maybe it’s the influence of Robert Frost, whose poem entitled “The Road Not Taken” carried me into vicarious adventures. I must have been twelve when I first read it, and it’s had an impact on me ever since.
You'll find "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost at the end of "The Beauty of Reading."
Fortunately, I married a man who also delights in discovering a new road less traveled. Whenever time permits while traveling, we avoid highways in favor of alternative routes. Yes, that usually takes longer, and it has landed us in some interesting parts. However, we have also driven through magnificent redwoods without seeing another car for miles, come across a ghost town, and driven through some of the most gorgeous pastoral land you’ll ever hope to see.
We’ve been lost a time or two, I’ll admit. My father taught me not to fear but to welcome that state of affairs as an adventure. The mindset he instilled has served me well. I should try better to apply it when my journey through life becomes confusing.
Once you leave the mind-numbing interstate for a road less traveled, the journey changes, often becoming a gentler thing. Tension sloughs away as the road winds instead of arrowing through the countryside. As a bonus, the bends in the road keep you alert at the wheel. There’s time to take in the scenery you might have missed. With stops passing at less than the speed of light, there’s time to decide whether to visit a local establishment, and these usually have more character than the generic gas stations, mini marts, and chain restaurants you find on the faster route.
I won’t argue that traveling a highway isn’t more efficient, but efficiency isn’t everything. My husband and I always ask, when embarking on a journey, whether it’s more important for us to reach the destination quickly or enjoy a fuller experience while on the road. Sometimes traveling faster makes sense, but we don’t do it by rote.
Being mindful is the key to both good travel and great living. Wherever the road before me leads, I want to be fully present.
My thoughts on a literary quote from Edmund Wilson kick off this month’s reader update. Learn the status of my current book projects and what I’m working on now here: The Beauty of Reading.
Thanks for reading!