The Path Not Chosen

On this Monday morning, I wonder if you also feel that last week must have been a year or more ago, that surely more than 2 days have elapsed. Surely this is in part due to the terrible events of Friday’s violence in Paris, and the awareness it awakens in all of us that these tragic events unfold each day, even if not on this scale, in so many other places in our troubled world. My early Friday morning walk last week through the deep woods with dog granted me peace, and my appreciation of that when so much of the world lacked it came upon me afresh at a favorite spot on the walk. On the path that goes deeper into the woods, just before a slight left bend, stands a particular tree with one shelf fungus that protrudes from its trunk: half an umbrella for some forest creature. This tree is now surrounded by a sea of brown bracken, but in summer it is rich and green. Shortly after I passed this spot and headed up the steeper incline, out came a bounding deer, a buck with a respectable rack and he was followed, oddly enough, by a person-less Siberian Husky out for his own walk, seemingly alone. Little did any of us realize what horror would unfold in the distance of a few hours and miles.

Once I reached the hilltop, I was ready to ponder “the path not chosen” and how that compared to “the road not taken,” a natural poetic link given this New England locale. Path or road, chosen or taken or neither to both, in the end I decided there wasn’t much to ponder after all, and went into my day of mixed duties and commuting and all it held.

We are all on paths or roads and in the course of any given day we choose or take many forks. This way or that, now or then, we go about our lives, usually with hope and trust we will arrive at the end of it, whole and intact and, possibly, given how I see future train-mates now running for this car, on time. But whether we walk or run, are early or late, we depend on the goodwill of our unknown neighbors and fellow travelers. Surely what we have in common, even though unspoken, is enough to bind us to a small tryst of mutual respect with and for each other. I wonder if not only the pleasantness of our days, but our very lives, depend on this.

So on this Monday morning, knowing many are in mourning, that many were in grief before Friday and others sadly others will enter this in days to come, I cast off semantics about roads and paths. I look out the window, not at my keyboard, and write what I feel come through my fingers. I pray for you, for Paris, and for us, all of us, those I know and those I don’t. Somehow, somewhere, can we find a better path to peace?

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