Inspiration: The Paths Taken

Two roads diverged in a wood…
–Robert Frost,
The Road Not Taken

I find paths winding through the wood irresistible. Not that I go charging down every one I see on a whim, mind you, but the image of that path stays with me for a long time. They call to me with the voice of the past, luring me away from the loud, crowded, connected present to the quiet, expansive solitude of a time long gone.

Paths like this appeal to my sense of adventure. (My husband is now snorting water out his nose as he reads this, because I am, shall we say, less than adventurous in my travels.) But the adventure of wooded paths is one of the imagination, not just geography. As my feet follow the pathway, I wonder about those who have gone before. Who were they? Why were they here? What were their lives like? What trials did they face? What triumphs did they celebrate? What were their stories?

Paths like this inspire me; they fire my imagination. They bring me a welcome release from the hectic pace of the normal world. They allow me to breathe, to be quiet, to think—to feel. Where they lead me to physically is almost irrelevant. But most times, I get the added gift of vistas like these: 

How can I pass up a path when it leads to a reward like that? And how can I as a writer help but get new ideas when a path leads to a house like this:

What’s it like to live in a house only accessible via water? It must cut down on unwanted visitors, that’s for certain!

The other day I drove past a wooded area. At one point two pillars stood. Once a gate—I picture wrought iron—had stood between them, but now one pillar lay half-toppled and a large branch blocked the way between them. Beyond the pillars stretched a path between the trees. Yellow and orange leaves lay thick on it, covering it and reclaiming it for the woods that surrounded it.

It called to me, but I could not follow it…that day.

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

–Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

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