Two roads diverged in a yellow wood filled up with snow …
What happens when you mash up “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” with “The Road Not Taken”?
For me, it was an extra lap recently at Tsalteshi Trails.
I’m not sure if mash-ups are still in vogue; it seems like maybe their popularity peaked with the movie “Pitch Perfect” a few years ago.
And while I wouldn’t describe my skiing as poetry in motion, getting outside on these early spring days can certainly be inspiring.
On the day in question, I had been planning to do an indoor bike workout. It had been pretty chilly in the morning, but I was thinking about the upcoming mountain bike season — specifically about challenges made by another competitor in the weekly summer mountain bike race series.
But I looked out the window, saw the sun shining and decided that staying inside was nuts. Instead, I grabbed my skis, cajoled my son into coming along, and headed for the ski trails.
For those who didn’t have to memorize Robert Frost poems in elementary school, “The Road Not Taken” is the poem that starts “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood …” The subject of the poem ponders each road before deciding to take the one less traveled by.
“Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” is self-explanatory as the subject pauses to ponder the fresh snowfall, but in the end has to get moving as he’s got “promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
Both of those thoughts struck me as I was gliding my way around the trails. I tend to pause at the top of hills anyway, but I found myself lingering for a few moments more to soak up the sunshine.
When I got to the crest of the last hill, I found myself pondering two paths — one back to the parking lot, the other back out onto the trails. I opted for the latter, and while the trails are certainly well-traveled, I still feel like spending more time out in the fresh spring air makes all the difference.
However, while I’ve enjoyed our woods as they’ve filled up with snow this winter, and as much as I felt like I could’ve stayed out on the trails all afternoon, I also had commitments that I eventually needed to get back to — though I think I got most of the actual miles to go out of the way on the trails.
Indeed, my life seems to get busier and busier. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from living in Alaska, it’s that you have to take advantage of getting outside any chance you get. Really, there aren’t two roads to ponder — those commitments won’t be going anywhere for the hour or two I spend watching the woods fill up with snow — or skiing through them, as the case may be.
For that matter, summer will be here sooner or later — maybe a little bit later this year — and while getting ready for race season is important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of skipping out on enjoying the season we’re in now.
So, two roads diverged in a yellow wood filled up with snow, and I went skiing.
Maybe it’s poetry in motion after all.
If he isn’t out pondering different roads, reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.