The Waterside upriver ...
Along thoughtways not taken ... or not forsaken ...

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Measuring Time & Progress

Once in a Blue Moon

Reach for the moon ~ something
to which we all should aspire

Photo © 2006 John Skibbee

In a "yellow wood" along Curzon Mill Road,
Newburyport, Massachusetts


As submitted to the Newburyport High School Annual Favorite Poem by Steve Cole, Vice-Chairperson of the School Committee, and selected by the students for reading and commentary at the Firehouse Center for the Arts event during the Newburyport Literary Festival, April 29, 2007.

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost (1915)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

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.

Steven Cole's narrative for the 2007 Favorite Poem recital:

"I first heard this poem as part of a graduation ceremony many years ago. And first read the work many years before that. Today, its meaning is quite different for me than it was in days gone by.

"I first found the work to pose simple, yet profound possibilities and questions. What would happen if we took a different path? What are some of the choices that we have made on our road of life? Were they the right choices? Should we have simply turned around, and gone back?

"As I have moved along my path of life, along this journey, I have encountered the importance of values, and of how they contribute to the foundation of my life. I found that I am most comfortable with having built that foundation brick by brick. That foundation has made me as understanding, steady, strong, and unwavering as I have needed it to.

"Because of that, I believe that we all move along a road that we are destined to travel. On our journey we are strengthened by the foundation that we have built from our life's experience, and the values that we have distilled from that experience.

"If we find ourselves needing to advocate, it is the foundation that becomes a fulcrum for our lever of support.

"If we find ourselves with an opportunity to inspire, it is that foundation that helps us communicate our ideas and values clearly and with action.

"If we find ourselves pursuing an ideal, its that foundation that underpins our desire to clarify our vision and not stop until we reach it.

"Let's not be sorry that we did not take the other path. Let's not regret the tough choices that we are to make. And let's not turn around and go back.

"If we realize that we may not ever pass this way again, it is because we are destined to proceed as we do. I believe that we are all destined to walk certain paths, and today, I am thankful that our paths have crossed.

"The Road Not Taken provides us all an opportunity to consider where we have been, where we are going, and what we have learned along the way. It can be as simple or as profound as we want it to be -- such as is our destiny."

Steven P. Cole
Vice Chairman, Newburyport School Committee &
Alumni Newburyport High School Class of 1976




1 This photograph of the sun filtering through a stand of trees growing on the 5.85-acre wooded parcel off of winding Curzon Mill Road, nearby to the Maudslay State Park. As related at this link within ~ in 2004, local advocates for open-space had launched an effort to purchase the property using $275,000 from the Community Preservation Committee and a $120,000 loan from the city. A nonprofit group, the Friends of Curzon Mill Road, was formed to collect money to reimburse the city, an obligation fulfilled in 2006.

Taken by John Skibbee, this photograph would be included in a montage of images "forwarded in a Motion of Comity" to celebrate the Essex National Heritage Commission's certificate award to the Waterside community of Newburyport (see link within) ~ representing one of the creative ways and means the Waterside people of today preserve open space and historic treasures, be they natural or craft. It is used here with permission of the photographer.


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