Yeah, Little Girl: Take One

We moved when my oldest daughter was four. One day, while I unpacked, my dad took her out to explore our new neighborhood. As they walked, he taught her the final stanza of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.” Each time they came to an intersection, they would say together,

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood,
And I, I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Then he would let her choose which direction they would travel on from there. Eventually they became delightfully, and just a little, lost. Aglow when they returned, she had learned a poem, been the leader, and made it back from the brink of danger. It was a great day in the life of a four-year old adventurer.

Several months later, our family hiked the Natural Bridge trail in Yellowstone National Park. A section of that trail is a loop. We stood at the fork in the trail as she recited her poem, chose the trail and set our course. After walking together for a way, she declared earnestly, “I think this is the road less traveled.”

Our Road Less Traveled Natural Bridge Trail, Yellowstone National Park

Our Road Less Traveled
Natural Bridge Trail, Yellowstone National Park

Yeah, little girl, it is.

Is is on a literal level because, of the 3 million visitors to the park each year, most never set foot off of the boardwalk. It is, though, for reasons more intangible and important than that.

  • It is because she chose it. She stopped and considered which way to go, neither following a crowd nor responding to a false sense of urgency that would tempt her to take the easiest or quickest way.  I have no idea what went on in that young mind of hers, but I know that stopping and considering before deciding is a habit which will help her to live well.
  • It is because she was willing to, in more words from the same poem, “keep the first for another day,” forsaking the good for what she thought would be best.
  • It is because she was out front.  In that moment she was the leader.  Leaders find themselves in uncharted territory where few have gone before.

That little girl is now a teenager and I want her to remember. I want her to remember the day she got lost with her Pa, the day she was able to choose and discovered the road less traveled, and the simple fact that there might be another road to take. I want her to recognize the road when she sees it, be discerning enough to know when to take it and strong enough to live with the fallout.  And if ever it seems that the world around her doesn’t quite fit with her or she with it, I want her to recognize the road she is on and once again say, “I think this is the road less traveled.”

Ya, little girl it is. Enjoy the journey. It will not always be easy, but it will be worth it.

Linking up at A Little R & R.

10 thoughts on “Yeah, Little Girl: Take One

  1. Beautiful post! The road less traveled may not have as much appeal but truth be known, it is so worth it! She is blessed to have family that reminds her of such truth. And thank you for reminding me today! I visited from A Little R & R & am grateful that I did! Blessings!

    • It is absolutely worth, but easy to get distracted from. I’m thankful for all reminders that I get, whether from people, poetry, or the word. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I’m not sure that we have ever actually met (I’m the Minnesota Barb Stumbo), but I feel as if I know you, at least a little, from the writings in your blog. You have a beautiful way with words…words that have touched my mother’s heart! You have a rich heritage in your parents and grandmother!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. I think we have met, once, long ago, when my family and I were up in your neck of the woods. I was a little girl and being in a big city left an impression! You are so right about my heritage, and I am thankful for that, too, and for its depth and width. I’ve been working on something related to that very thing, something which springs from meeting Mom’s cousin Jim last summer. You may see that soon. Perhaps we will meet again one day,Barb.

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  6. I wish this page had a “like” button. I love your way with words and food for thought 🙂

  7. Dan (Pa) makes reference to this poem often and this piece brings a sweetness to the memory that I am unable to express in words. Thank you.

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