Thursday, August 6, 2015

“Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” ― Harper Lee

While it never snows here, it did when we lived in Boston, quite a lot.  We have, in fact, driven through the woods at night on snowy roads, so we know, sort of, what the author of the poem must have been feeling.  However, the images of woods, snow, and horse have nothing to do with why this poem is so important to me.  I studied Frost for my Master’s in American Literature, and this was one of my favorite poems.  I was young then, but, alas, no longer.  It is the last two lines of this poem that keep me going here.  I never expected to live to be seventy years old, and I certainly didn’t expect to have all the health issues which I must suffer on a daily basis.  A few of my ailments are due to my own mistreatment of my own body, but I can’t go back and change that, so the only way to go is forward.  As the “Blues Brothers” were fond of saying, “We are on a mission from God.”  It may not have been true for them, but it is for us.  I was asked just last week why it is with my age and physical problems that I don’t return to the United States and live a quiet life with lots of the latest medications and medical treatment available.  My answer was long and complicated and mostly in Swahili but is summed up quite adequately in the last two lines of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.  It follows here (do pay attention to the last two lines—they may apply to you, too):
          Whose woods these are I think I know.   
          His house is in the village though;   
          He will not see me stopping here   
          To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

          My little horse must think it queer   
          To stop without a farmhouse near   
          Between the woods and frozen lake   
          The darkest evening of the year.   

         He gives his harness bells a shake   
         To ask if there is some mistake.   
         The only other sound’s the sweep   
         Of easy wind and downy flake.   

        The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
        But I have promises to keep,   
        And miles to go before I sleep,   
        And miles to go before I sleep.
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