Friday, December 11, 2015

" The only other sounds."

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening 

  by  Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

     The human brain has amazing capacities bursting with unimaginable mysteries. Two people will read the exact same book passage or poem and come away with two entirely different interpretations. Among us this can create profound connections or result in tragic consequences. Poet, Robert Frost completed "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" in 1922  after being up all night writing a longer poem called "New Hampshire " which later became part of a Pulitzer Prize award winning collection. Despite being one of the most successful poets of his generation he was deeply in debt for most of his life. When I contemplate the last lines of the poem;
 " The woods are lovely, dark and deep." it reminds me of those deliciously rare moments when we are captivated by observing what we believe is beautiful. The concept of time seems to melt away. Being "lost in the moment" feels magical. But few who recite the poem will come away with the same view. When composing poetry, music or song lyrics that's the point. Recall the famous quote of author Anais Nin, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

     Imagine Frost standing with his gallant horse whom like all trusted animals we love so much remains wordless.  Looking over the expanse of a snow covered field he was in absolute awe. Sure his neighbor owned a lot of property he couldn't enjoy while Frost struggled to keep his own home but do we really know if he was envious or grateful? Dark and peaceful, the chill in the air was probably exhilarating to an exhausted writer. Those of us who grew up in frigid climates discover that even the most soot stained, industrialized city transforms into a winter wonderland following a snowfall. It gives us the illusion our dirty, smog filled cities are sweetly sugared or Frosted.

"But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep."

   Perhaps  Frost was savoring his solitude, awake and alive before returning to work. One perfect moment of beauty and clarity was finally his to enjoy. And then suddenly...  cutting through the gorgeous silence.....bzzz, bzzz, bzzz  bzzzzzzzzzzz. Frost rolls his eyes as he scrolls over a few texts from his wife. "Robert, don't forget to pick up some Stella.", "You are out of coffee." Sad face emoji. "Where are you? It's late!" Okay, no he didn't. It was 1922. Read the poem yourself. However, a spouse must be kept happy, bills paid, children fed, a house cleaned, obligations met.  But all of us LIVE for those silent moments of beauty and clarity. We live for them.

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